The Virgin and Child, (for the Madonna del Carmine Presenting a Scapular to a Carmelite, in Cento’s Pinacoteca Civica), c.1615
Red chalk on beige paper, 20 x 17.8 cm
This is a study for the upper part of an early altarpiece by the north Italian artist Guercino which represents the Madonna del Carmine presenting a scapular to the Carmelite monk St Albert. Today the painting is in the Pinacoteca Civica at Cento, Guercino’s home town. The chromatic vibrancy of red chalk was favoured by Italian Renaissance artists, who exploited its natural physical properties to convey the soft tones of flesh. Red chalk is sometimes referred to by the French term sanguine meaning blood.
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