Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Head of a Bearded Man

Anonymous, Bohemian, 14th century
Pen and gray-brown ink, brush with gray-black and brown wash, traces of white gouache highlights.
Sheet: 4 7/16 x 3 3/8 in. (11.3 x 8.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, 2003
Accession Number:
Not on view
Few Medieval drawings survive. This very refined and unusually well-preserved study was probably created by an artist in the immediate circle of the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV (r. 1355-78) at Prague. The sheet was probably made as an exemplar in a modelbook rather than as a preliminary study for a specific work. The bearded man with an intent gaze and portraitlike presence evokes a biblical patriarch, prophet, or apostle. The meticulous artist delicately outlined the figure with a fine pen and added modelling with the tip of the brush. Although working on a relatively small scale, the artist achieved a stunningly sculptural conception of form.
Vendor: Galerie Arnoldi-Livie (Munich)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 26, 2004–July 25, 2004.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400–1700," April 3–September 3, 2012.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Chase: Two Decades of Collecting Drawings and Prints," December 9, 2014–March 16, 2015.

Carmen C. Bambach, Elizabeth E. Barker, Colta Ives, Nadine Orenstein, Michiel C. Plomp, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2002-2003." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vol. 61, no. 2, Autumn 2003, p. 16, ill.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Prague: The Crown of Bohemia 1347 - 1437. Exh. cat. Edited by Barbara Drake Boehm, Edited by Jiri Fajt, New York, 2005, cat. no. 34, p. 165, ill.

Karel IV., Císař Boží Milosti: Kultura a Umění za Vlády Posledních Lucemburků 1347–1437 (Charles IV, Emperor by the Grace of God: Culture and Art in the Reign of the Last of the Luxembourgs 1347–1437). Jiri Fajt, Barbara Drake Boehm, Prague Castle Administration, Prague, 2006, cat. no. 10.9, p. 83.

Stijn Alsteens, Freyda Spira Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400-1700 Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2012, cat. 1 (entry written by George R. Goldner); p. x, xii (introduction written by Stijn Alsteens), ill.

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