41. Domenico Zampieri, called Domenichino

Bologna 1581 – 1641 Naples

The Virgin and Child, circa 1626 – 1627

Both this sheet and the one preserved in Darmstadt are linked to large religious compositions painted by Domenichino, respectively in San Lorenzo, Miranda and Palazzo Barberini, Rome. They belong to the same type of figure study in black chalk on grey-blue paper which served as preparatory drawings for the execution of much larger cartoons. Evidence for this can be found in the squaring, used to facilitate the transfer of the drawing to the new support. Domenichino paid great attention to the composition of his paintings, studying each figure separately or, as here, the group comprising of the Virgin and her child. He perfected their solemn pose, emphasised by the ample soft drapery that envelopes them. The reserved, almost melancholic expression of Mary is in keeping with the classical tradition which Domenichino endeavoured to defend.