Studies of the Virgin and Child (recto); Virgin and Child Enthroned (verso) (Main View)

Desiderio da Settignano

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Desiderio da Settignano, or a draftsman from his workshop, drew seven sketches of the Virgin and the infant Jesus in pen and ink over elaborate stylus underdrawings that frequently differ greatly from the overdrawings in pen. He used a light, delicate touch and concentrated on the outline of the forms with minimal internal modeling. The artist drew more broadly on the verso, using considerable black chalk underdrawing along with the brown ink. Here the Virgin and Child sit in profile on an elaborate throne ornamented with a sphinx, a curling rinceaux motif, and various floral designs. Given the profile format, scholars believe this sheet was probably intended as a study for a relief, perhaps in terracotta. Renaissance sculptors used drawings as important tools for numerous purposes: to experiment with new ideas, for workshop assistants to copy, or to tempt a patron with selections for a new commission.


  • Title: Studies of the Virgin and Child (recto); Virgin and Child Enthroned (verso) (Main View)
  • Creator: Desiderio da Settignano
  • Date Created: 1460s
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 19.4 × 27.8 cm (7 5/8 × 10 15/16 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink over stylus underdrawing (recto); pen and brown ink and black chalk (verso)
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 88.GG.107
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Desiderio da Settignano or workshop (Italian, about 1430 - 1464)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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