Sheet of Studies of Various Figures

Aurelio Luini1570s

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A complex arrangement of biblical and mythological figures fills this well-preserved sheet. In the lower right corner, Aurelio Luini quickly sketched the figure of an apostle, which he later used in a fresco. Near the bottom of the page stand two larger figures of Mary Magdalene, each holding a jar of ointment with which to anoint the feet of Jesus Christ. Above, on the right, a woman--possibly the figure of Charity--holds a child in either arm. Scholars are unable to identify the other figures. The number in the top left of the sheet suggests that it once formed part of Luini's sketchbook.

Luini swiftly drew the outline of each figure first in brown ink, deftly indicating the volume of the forms simply by varying the length and curve of the strokes. He then used brown wash and rich areas of white heightening to create a subtle, luminous effect. White bodycolor gives the impression of a knee beneath a fold of fabric, adds texture to the drapery, and highlights the figures' hair and faces.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Sheet of Studies of Various Figures
  • Creator: Aurelio Luini
  • Date: 1570s
  • Physical Dimensions: 26.7 x 17.9 cm (10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink, brown wash with white gouache heightening over traces of black chalk on paper
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 85.GG.229
  • Markings: Markings: (Recto) at bottom right corner, unknown round collection mark.
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: (Recto) at top left corner, inscribed "132" in brown ink; at bottom right corner, inscribed "Luini" in brown ink; (verso) inscribed "N177" in red chalk.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Drawings