Study for the figure of Dante in 'Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna', by 1853-4
Lord Leighton PRA (1830 - 1896)
RA Collection: Art
A life drawing, in pencil, of a standing male nude viewed from the back. The model's hands are held behind his back and he leans against a wall on his right side, the face is shown in profile. This is a study for the figure of Dante in 'Cimabue's celebrated Madonna carried in procession through the streets of Florence' (1853-5; Royal Collection). The poet stands on the far right of the composition with his back to the viewer as he watches the procession.
Like many of Leighton's early life drawings, this figure is drawn in sharp outline with some shading in hatched lines and smudged pencil. Leighton followed traditional studio practice in making both nude and draped studies for figures in his paintings.
This group of life drawings are very similar in style and arrangement. One is inscribed 'Rome 1853' and it is very likely that the others were also made at life classes either in Rome or in Frankfurt where Leighton studied at the Städelsches Institut. Having completed his training with the Nazarene painter Edvard von Steinle in Frankfurt, Leighton arrived in Rome on the 19th November 1852 remaining there, apart from visits to his family in Germany, until 1855 when he moved to Paris.
Many of these life studies are drawn in pencil with a sharp outline and light modelling effected by the close-knit hatching of fine lines. The academic quality of the drawings derives from Leighton's rigorous training. In later years, Leighton retained a methodical approach to the preparation of his compositions but his life drawings became considerably less restrained and he favoured the more fluid medium of black and white chalks on brown paper.
305 mm x 182 mm
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