Pietro da Cortona drew this angelically beautiful face in a style reminiscent of the work of Renaissance master Raphael (1483–1520). Cortona's use of black chalk to develop extremely subtle effects of shading shows the technique at its most refined. He drew this sheet in preparation for a ceiling decoration, <em>Saint Michael and Angels with the Instruments of the Passion</em>, painted in fresco in the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella (better known as the Chiesa Nuova, or "New Church") in Rome, completed in 1633.

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  • Title: Study for the Head of St. Michael
  • Creator: Pietro da Cortona (Italian, 1596-1669)
  • Date Created: 1633
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 19 x 16.8 cm (7 1/2 x 6 5/8 in.); Secondary Support: 31.9 x 27.6 cm (12 9/16 x 10 7/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 28 March 1979, no. 173a (as Francesco Romanelli in catalogue, attribution changed to Pietro da Cortona by date of sale)., Duke Roberto Ferretti di Castelferretto, London., his sale, Christie's, London, 2 July 1996, no. 47., The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1996.257
  • Medium: black chalk
  • Fun Fact: The fresco for which this drawing was made as a preparatory study joins works of art by Peter Paul Rubens as well as relics of the Saint Philip Neri in the Chiesa Nuova in Rome.
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italy, 17th century
  • Credit Line: Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund
  • Collection: DR - Italian
  • Accession Number: 1996.257

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