Eight Studies of Heads
  • Gaetano Gandolfi
  • Near Bologna 1734 - 1802 Bologna
  • Eight Studies of Heads, ca. 1780
  • Pen and brown ink, on paper
  • 236 × 136 mm
Thos. Agnews & Sons Ltd., London 1974:
Master Drawings and Prints, cat. no. 36,
Private collection, New York

Along with his paintings and frescoes, it was Gaetano Gandolfi’s studies of heads and anatomy that particularly established his reputation beyond his home region. He taught anatomical drawing at the Bologna academy and founded the university collection for comparative anatomy.

Gandolfimostly drew in pen and ink, but also made drawings in pencil and pastels. Already during the artist’s lifetime, these sheets were collected and reproduced in engravings. Later Gaetano’s son Mauro Gandolfi(1764 - 1834) adopted the themes and techniques of his father.

From this drawing, Gaetano used the study on the upper right of a young woman in profile, her hair plaited and adorned with pearls, as the basis for a slightly enlarged individual depiction, also in pen and brown ink (Fig.1). The related etching in reverse has been dated to ca. 1780.