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Work Head of a Young Woman

Department of Prints and Drawings: 17th century

Le Muletier, dit aussi Paysage au château

© Musée du Louvre/A. Dequier - M. Bard

Prints and Drawings
17th century

Author(s):
Surname FirstName1, Surname2 FirstName2

This study from life is a portrait of Dolci's young wife, Teresa Bucherelli, a subject who was given pride of place in the artist's work. The drawing is a fine example of the many portraits made by Dolci, who, as a profoundly religious man, made the expressive study of faces a counter to the female nude, which was common practice in the seventeenth century.

A fervently religious painter

The inscription on the cartouche of the drawing, by the collector Filippo Baldinucci - "Di Carlo Dolci, Ritratto di sua moglie" ("By Carlo Dolci, Portrait of His Wife") - allows us to identify the subject of this portrait. Dolci was thirty-eight by the time he married Teresa Bucherelli, in 1654. Frequently inspired by her young face, he made other portraits of his wife (Fondation Custodia, Paris; Count Gelosi Collection, Turin). Dolci was particularly interested in portraiture as a genre and developed it in an altogether personal way, striving to highlight the expressive aspect of the face through a meticulous study of the personality of his sitters. The young woman's large brown eyes light up her face and capture the viewer's attention. Dolci was a practicing Catholic, eager to respect the instructions of the preachers of his day; reacting against the practices of painters such as Furini and Pignoni, he refused to depict the female nude. Baldinucci was pleased by this, and Dolci became one of his favorite painters on account of his great piety. He preferred faces to the academic study of anatomy and interpreted them in a moralising manner.

A fondness for pathos

The swift, thick lines of red chalk aptly convey the simplicity and sweetness of the expression, which is further emphasized by the outline of the slightly parted lips. Teresa's gown is built up with a slightly zigzag stroke. The examples of Dolci's graphic work known to us are for the most part studies of single figures, made for paintings depicting religious subjects or portraits from life. The painstaking detail of these drawings has its exact counterpart in Dolci's fondness for carefully studied compositions marked by heavy pathos, qualities for which the artist was famous in his day. As is often the case, however, the sketches have much more character than the painted compositions. In the present drawing, the attitude of Teresa has a certain spontaneity when compared with the religious paintings Dolci made from the same face.

Bibliography

- BALDASSARRI Francesca, Carlo Dolci, Turino, 1995, pp.157-160.

- GOLDENBERG STOPPATO Lisa, Il Seicento fiorentino. Arte a Firenze da Ferdinando I a Cosimo III, Firenze, Cantini Edizioni d'Arte, 1986, 3 vol., n 2.322.

- MONBEIG-GOGUEL Catherine (sous la dir. de), Dessins baroques florentins du Musée du Louvre, cat. exp. Paris, musée du Louvre, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1981, n 114, fig. 214.

Technical description

  • Alessandro MAGNASCO (Gênes, 1667 - Gênes, 1749)

    Le Muletier, dit aussi Paysage au château

    Vers 1710

  • H. : 1,30 m. ; L. : 1,07 m.

  • Récupéré en Allemagne après la Seconde guerre mondiale ;attribué au musée du Louvre par l'Office des Biens privés, 1950

    M.N.R. 372

  • Prints and Drawings

    Denon wing
    1st floor
    Painting in 18th-century northern Italy
    Room 19, temporarily closed to the public, works n

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Additional information about the work

Inscribed on the cartouche: "Di Carlo Dolci, Rittrato di sua moglia" ("By Carlo Dolci, Portrait of His Wife"), followed by the number "97"