19. Carlo Maratti

Camerano 1625 – 1713 Rome

Study of a Naked Child, Looking down to Right, circa 1687

After laying out his composition in a pen and ink sketch, Carlo Maratti was in the habit of making a study of each individual figure, usually in red chalk. Our sheet is one of those studies: the Christ Child is almost identical to the one in the painting of the Apparition of the Virgin to St Stanislas Kostka (1687, Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, Rome). The drapery which, in the painting, is wrapped around his stomach does not yet appear in the drawing. The parts of the body that are concealed, indicated by a soft line in red chalk, do not correspond to the Virgin’s cloak either. The pose of this child, lowering his gaze towards the saint and preparing to bless him with his right hand, lacks the candour befitting his young age. To accomplish the drawing the artist almost certainly observed a real child but managed to transform him into a pious charac­ter – bearing his painting in mind.