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With quick, confident strokes, Franciabigio captured a young man lost in thought as he writes or sketches in a notebook, his hip cocked to the right for balance. Using parallel hatching in black chalk, he indicated both the lighting and volume of the forms, simply by varying the length and curve of the same strokes. A few zigzagging stokes were all he needed to suggest the fabric of his cape and muscular legs.

Franciabigio probably made the drawing from life, sketching a fellow artist or workshop assistant as he worked. The man wears clothing that was popular in the 1500s: a short doublet with a high stand-up collar, a short cloak, a codpiece, and breeches and stockings sewn together at the knee. His head sports a soft, low hat with a turned up brim, which could be worn both inside and out.

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