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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Studies of Saint John the Baptist

Copy after Rogier van der Weyden (Tournai, 1399–Brussels, 1464)
after 1455
Metalpoint on gray prepared paper
4 5/8 x 7 1/8 in. (11.8 x 18.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 964
This highly accomplished sheet of studies in metalpoint is actually a record of a painting rather than a study for one. The bust-length profile of Saint John the Baptist and adjacent studies of legs correspond exactly to the figure of Saint John baptizing Christ in the central panel of a triptych by Rogier van der Weyden, Scenes from the Life of Saint John the Baptist (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin). The technique of using careful crosshatching and controlled contour lines, sometime softened by hatchmarks, relates to metalpoint drawings attributed to Rogier. Moreover, the drawing reflects such a thorough understanding of his idiosyncrasies that one might attribute the sheet to some gifted artist working directly after the Berlin triptych was completed (following 1445).
Marking: Annotated on the verson in pencil: Lorenzo da Credi; Hans holbein; in pen: E (or 3?); in pencil or black chalk; 200 (in a rectangle).
Private collection, England; sale, Sotheby's, London, 30 June 1948, lot 153, frontispiece (as Rogier van der Weyden; to Roberts for Lehman).
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