Studies of Heads (recto); Studies of a Male Figure (verso)

Hans Baldungabout 1512 - 1513

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

As he practiced drawing different heads for use in later paintings and prints, Hans Baldung Grien created a pattern unified by abstract hatching. The facing heads represent three distinct facial types: a young woman with long flowing hair and a crown, a bearded man in the top left, and a young man looking upward at the bottom right.

By contrast, the six faces clustered in groups of two and four near the upper center of the sheet resemble physiognomic studies, or variations on distinctive profiles. Baldung Grien recorded various hooked, straight, and curving noses combined with rounded, pointed, and sloping or non-existent chins. The artist used light, flowing strokes to outline most of the faces and dark, broader accents to emphasize the eyes, noses, and mouths.

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  • Title: Studies of Heads (recto); Studies of a Male Figure (verso)
  • Creator: Hans Baldung Grien
  • Date: about 1512 - 1513
  • Physical Dimensions: 12.4 x 17.1 cm (4 7/8 x 6 3/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and black ink
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: At bottom right corner, signed with monogram "HBG" in black ink.
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.GA.81
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: German
  • Classification: Drawings