(1578 – Florence – 1650)
Head of a Young Girl
Black and red chalk
222 x 185 mm
Inscribed in pencil in the lower right corner : Rosselli
Inscribed in ink on the back of the drawing
Matteo Rosselli can be considered as one of the first florentine painters who took part to the baroque movement. After learning his craft in Gregorio Pagani’s studio, he himself a student of the mannerist artist Cigoli, Rosselli studied at the Accademia del Disegno, before leaving for Rome. After his return to Florence, he worked at the Palazzo Pitti, at the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, and painted ambitious frescoes representing the life of Michelangelo at the Casa Buonarroti. He was also an appreciated educator and an unrivalled workshop leader who had among his students all the younger generation of Florentine painters: Lorenzo Lippi, Volterrano, Franceschini and Vignali.
Some of Rosselli’s drawings are sometimes mistaken with those of his disciple Jacopo Vignali (1592-1664) or Carlo Dolci, a generation that came before him since he was the student of Vignali.
A certain stylistic continuity persisted throughout these three generations: the fine black stone hatching that builds up the features and shapes the faces, with accents of orange sanguine, can still be found in Dolci’s work, albeit with a smaller, more precise pencil (as, for example, in his Study of a draped woman with folded hands, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille).
We can compare our study, of marvelous sensitivity and truthfulness, to the Head of a Young Boy, of identical technique, preserved in Moscow at the Pushkin Museum (fig. 2), where we find the same softness and lightness in the use of the pencils.