Studies of Figures and Architecture (recto); Figure Studies (verso) (Main View)

Perino del Vaga

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Perino del Vaga covered both sides of this sheet with drawings of figures and architecture. On the recto, he first made the six smaller figures that fit around the architectural ovals in the lower two-thirds of the drawing. Given the individualized nature of their attributes and poses, he seems to have intended them all for specific locations in a domed vault, although none of them relate to any of Perino's known works.

The four heads in profile at the top of the recto and the one at the top center of the verso differ in several ways; they were all drawn later than the other sketches. The later drawings are all much more lightly shaded with pale strokes of wash, and each profile wears an elaborate, fanciful hat or headdress and an exaggerated expression approaching caricature. These figures may represent costumed characters in a ballet or theatrical display. Scholars have not yet determined the purpose of the five other heavily shaded figures on the verso, two of whom seem to be in close discussion at the bottom left.


  • Title: Studies of Figures and Architecture (recto); Figure Studies (verso) (Main View)
  • Creator: Perino del Vaga (Piero Buonaccorsi)
  • Date Created: about 1542–1545
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 32.7 × 22.2 cm (12 7/8 × 8 3/4 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush with brown and gray wash, traces of black chalk; partly incised for transfer (recto); pen and brown ink and brown wash (verso)
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 88.GG.132
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Perino del Vaga (Piero Buonaccorsi) (Italian, 1501 - 1547)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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