Profile of a Man Crowned with Laurel, by Leonardo da Vinci

Testa virile di profilo coronata di alloro, c. 1506-10 (sanguigna con contorni ripassati a penna su carta bianca) (1506/1510) by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)Musei Reali

The drawing was created by Leonardo around 1510 using red stone, which chemical analyses have revealed to be based on martite, a modified variety of hematite.

The lines are broad and soft with some right-handed marks (attributed, nonetheless, to Leonardo) and sophisticated pen and ink strokes which Leonardo seems to have retained due to their perfect integration with the design as a whole and the strength that they confer.

There are numerous elements that characterize this figure as a heroic man with presumably classical ancestry:

First of all, the three-quarter-view bust.

A second important element is the head in profile which is crowned with laurel.

The man’s gaze towards the horizon and his proud expression further confirm this characterization.

However, some elements suggest a more realistic physiognomy, such as the man’s accentuated and protruding eyebrow…

…and his protruding lower jaw.

Nonetheless, it is a typically Tuscan face with a physiognomy that can still be easily found today and which interested Leonardo during the years of his youthful experiments.

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