Domenico Cresti Passignano (1559 - 1638)
The Head of a Youth Sold
Red chalk. Irregularly trimmed.Inscribed Del Pasigniano on the old backing sheet.282 x 200 mm. (11 1/8 x 7 7/8 in.) at greatest dimensions.ACQUIRED BY THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON, TEXAS.ENQUIRE
The present sheet bore an old and probably contemporary attribution to Passignano, and is a fine example of the ‘morbidezza’ or softness noted by Baldinucci as a particular characteristic of the artist’s drawings. The delicate handling of red chalk and the treatment of hair is found throughout the artist’s oeuvre as a draughtsman, and is seen for example in a study of a seated male nude, formerly in a French private collection and sold at auction in 1987. The facial type of this pensive young man is likewise found in numerous paintings and drawings by the artist. It has been suggested that the soft, sensual expression characteristic of such youths in Passignano’s work may reflect something of the influence of Caravaggio’s paintings, which he would have seen in Rome in the first decade of the 17th century.