Barocci was among the pioneers of the oil sketch in Italy. This dazzling full-scale study in color was preparatory for the figure of Saint Elizabeth in his famous Visitation altarpiece in the Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella or "Chiesa Nuova," Rome, painted between 1584 and 1586. In the final work, the saint's head would become more idealized and serene of feature, and the technique of execution much less sketchy. Barocci was an indefatigable and stunningly fluent draftsman. For the Visitation altarpiece, he prepared also a great number of small-scale composition sketches and detailed figure studies based on the live model, as well as an imposing cartoon (full-scale drawing) in charcoal (now in the Uffizi, Florence inv. 1784 E). Together with an oil sketch for the head of Saint Joseph (New York, Private collection: see Di Giampaolo 2008) the Museum's sheet was a step of refinement in the design process beyond the cartoon.
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Title:Head of an Old Woman Looking to Lower Right (Saint Elizabeth)
Artist:Federico Barocci (Italian, Urbino ca. 1535–1612 Urbino)
Medium:Brush and oil paint on paper
Dimensions:15 3/8 x 10 13/16in. (39.1 x 27.5cm)
Credit Line:Harry G. Sperling Fund, 1976
Mr. Gorton (British)-- purchased from widow by G. Agnew, 1975; Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London--1976
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "15th and 16th Century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 16–April 17, 1983.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," November 27, 1995–February 25, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 11–June 25, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 12–July 11, 2010.
National Gallery, London. "Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master of Color and Line (St. Louis) / Federico Barocci: Brilliance and Grace (London)," February 27, 2013–May 19, 2013.
Andrea Emiliani, Giovanna Bertalà Mostra di Federico Barocci. Exh. cat., Museo Civico, Bologna (September 14 -November 16, 1975). Bologna, 1975, no. 160 (as England, Private Collection), ill.
Edmund P. Pillsbury "Barocci at Bologna and Florence." Master Drawings. vol. 14, no. 1, Master Drawings, New York, 1976, pp. 56, 63.
John Shearman "Barocci at Bologna and Florence." in Burlington Magazine. vol. 118, London, January 1976, pp. 51-52, fig. 2, ill.
Edmund P. Pillsbury and Louise S. Richards The Graphic Art of Federico Barocci. Selected Drawings and Prints. Exh. cat., The Cleveland Museum of Art and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. New Haven, 1978, no. 44, ill.
Edmund P. Pillsbury "The Oil Studies of Frederico Barocci." Apollo Magazine. vol. 108, New York, Sept. 1978, pp. 171-72, pl. 4.
Graham Smith "Frederico Barocci." Burlington Magazine, vol. 120, 1978. vol. 120, Burlington Magazine, London, 1978, pp. 330-33, fig. 106, ill.
Jacob Bean Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art), 1975-1979: Drawings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, p. 56 (entry by Jacob Bean).
A Dealer's Record, Agnew's 1967-81. Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., Agnew's, London, 1981, p. 163, ill.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th and 16th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, p. 32, no. 21, ill.
Andrea Emiliani Federico Barocci. 1985, pp. 223, 446, no. 459, ill.
Veronika Birke, Janine Kertész Die italienischen Zeichnungen der Albertina. Generalverzeichnis Band I: inv. 1-1200. Vienna, Cologne and Weimar, 1992, p. 305, under no. 556.
William M. Griswold, Linda Wolk-Simon Sixteenth Century Italian Drawings in New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (January 11 - March 27, 1994). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1994, pp. 88-89, 222, no. 78, ill.
Carmen C. Bambach Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance Workshop: Theory and Practice, 1300-1600. New York and Cambridge, 1999, p. 55, fig. 50.
Mario Di Giampaolo "Federico Barocci: sulla 'Visitazione' alla Chiesa Nuova." Prospettiva. 129, 2008, pp. 93-96, note 2.
Mario Di Giampaolo "Federico Barocci: sulla 'Visitazione' alla Chiesa Nuova." Prospettiva. no. 129, January 2008, pp. 93-94.
Mario Di Giampaolo Mario di Giampaolo. Scritti sul disegno italiano 1971-2008. Ed. by Cristiana Garofalo, Florence, 2010, p. 293.
Judith W. Mann, Babette Bohn, Carol Plazzotta Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master of Color and Line Exh. cat. Saint Louis Art Museum and London, National Gallery. New Haven and Saint Louis, 2012, pp. 203-4, 211 (note 34), no. 10.6, ill.
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