Ludovico Carracci

The Head of a Sleeping Boy Sold

Red chalk.
A study of a neck and chin (a fragment of a larger drawing) in red chalk on the verso.
111 x 121 mm. (4 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.)


On the basis of a close inspection of the drawing, Babette Bohn has attributed the present sheet to Ludovico Carracci. She points out that that stylistic comparisons may be made with a handful of chalk drawings of the late 1580’s by Ludovico, including a study of a nude boy asleep in the British Museum, a sheet of studies of heads in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and a red chalk study of the head of a sleeping boy in a private collection. Each of these drawings has previously borne attributions to Annibale Carracci and, like the present sheet, underlines the difficulty of separating the early chalk drawings of Annibale and Ludovico Carracci.

The present sheet was once part of an album of drawings compiled by the 18th century French collector François Desmarais (or Des Marais), the contents of which were dispersed at auction in 1984. The title page of the album bore the inscription ‘Dessins origin:x / des plus fameux / Peintres, Rassemblez / Par M. Des Marais: / 1729:’.

François Desmarais, Nantes, part of an album assembled before 1729
The album broken up and sold, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 2 March 1984, the present sheet as lot 99 (as School of Veronese, 16th Century), with the sale stamp D (Lugt 3358)
Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 12 January 1990, lot 12 (as School of the Carracci).


The Head of a Sleeping Boy


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