Saturday, April 17, 2010


Study for a Portrait of a Seated Man, ca. 1535

Comparing the original drawing of a nude man crawling on his belly with the copy side by side took a lot of time.  The placard tells you to notice that the line of the thigh in the true Bronzino shows many false starts where the fake only has one confident line throughout.  But there are other differences.  The muscle of the thigh is bigger in the Bronzino, and there is  more tension in the way the man is crawling, all coiled ready to spring.  The composition of the leg cut off before his ankle adds to the tension.  These differences are slight.  I admire  Bronzino's  subtle shading, the tiny cross hatches in the contours.   All around me, museum goers were murmuring, "technique, technique." One detail of a leg with its velvety shadows in the curves near the shin is breathtaking.  

I loved best of all the emotional content in the hands and feet.  The biblical figures of Jacob's feet next to Joseph's  clearly express the aged next to youth.  Hands wringing each other in jealousy are all snarled up in agony.

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