Study of a Franciscan Monk (Possibly Saint Francis)

Giovanni Battista Crespiabout 1600

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A Franciscan monk, possibly Saint Francis himself, turns his eyes towards heaven in supplication, his gaunt face shown in profile. The monk's features--with his large eyes, finely modeled nose, and slightly parted lips--are carefully observed and delicately drawn. Cerano used swift, curving strokes to capture the short curls at the back of the monk's tonsured head and softer, smudged lines for the wispy strands on his chin and upper lip. The artist created dramatic contrasts by using strong chiaroscuro lighting effects: a dark shadow behind the man's head sets off his thin face and the hollows of his cheeks.

Although similar figures appear in several paintings by Cerano, scholars have not yet identified the specific painting for which this drawing was a preparatory study.

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  • Title: Study of a Franciscan Monk (Possibly Saint Francis)
  • Creator: Cerano (Giovanni Battista Crespi)
  • Date: about 1600
  • Physical Dimensions: 20.8 x 17.5 cm (8 3/16 x 6 7/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Red chalk
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 83.GB.269
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Drawings