God the Father (recto); Standing Christ (verso) (Main View, recto)

Vittore Carpaccio

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Gazing downwards, God the Father grasps his celestial orb in one hand and watches over earth surrounded by a ring of clouds. Vittore Carpaccio first applied black chalk and gray wash, describing the figure's overall outline with strong strokes. Dark vertical lines of hatching give texture to God's robe as well as to the clouds. The artist then exploited the brilliance and luminosity of the white gouache by applying it on top of the chalk. With white lines, he delineated the long delicate hairs of God's beard, differentiating them from the curling strands on his head. The glowing quality of the white gouache and the solid three-dimensionality of God's form create a sense of energy radiating from him.

When the sheet is turned upside down, another study in red chalk appears beneath the greenish-blue preparation. This shows the upper part of the torso of a standing man wearing a toga-like costume and raising his left forearm. This abandoned sketch may have been drawn in connection with the study on the verso. The young man on the verso--probably Christ--who appears to be on a pedestal, may have been copied from an antique sculpture.


  • Title: God the Father (recto); Standing Christ (verso) (Main View, recto)
  • Creator: Vittore Carpaccio
  • Date Created: about 1495–1500
  • Location Created: Venice, Veneto, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 21 × 17.1 cm (8 1/4 × 6 3/4 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Black chalk, brush with gray wash, heightened with white gouache, on greenish blue prepared paper
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 91.GG.38
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Vittore Carpaccio (Italian, about 1460 - 1526)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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