20. Carlo Maratti

Camerano 1625 – 1713 Rome

Study of a Child, in Profile to Left, circa 1680

This large drawing is a preliminary study for the young St John the Baptist in the altarpiece of The Virgin and Child with St Charles Borromeo and St Ignatius, painted by Carlo Maratti for the Spada Chapel in Santa Maria in Vallicella, Rome. Maratti probably drew the model from life. The doubling of the outlines and the pentimenti, for example around the nose and the left hand, are the result of spon­taneous efforts by the artist to get the contours right. Dissatisfied with the right arm, he redrew it further to the right, creating the impression of breaking down the child’s movement. This contributes appreciably to the dynamism of the drawing.