Cremona 1671 – Bologna 1749


Study of a Young Man


Black chalk with white heightening on light brown paper


16 ½ x12 inches

(419 x 305 mm.)


Mr. Meysey and Lady Catherine Clive, England, acquired in Florence, Dec. 9, 1878 (according to an inscription on the verso)

Sale, Sotheby’s, London, July 4, 1099, lot 47

Sale, Christie’s, New York, Jan. 10, 1990, lot 66; where purchased by:

Private Collection, New York, 1990-2016



Mario Di Giampaolo, ed., Disegno italiano antico; Artisti e opere dal Quattrocento al Settecento (Milan 1994), p. 125 ill.

Robert B. Simon, Visions and Vistas: Old Master Paintings and Drawings, exh. cat, New York: Berry-Hill Galleries, Jan 25-March 4, 2000, no. 50 ill.

Marco Riccomini, Donato Creti; Le opere su carta; catalogo ragionato (Turin 2012), p. 33, cat. no. 22.4, pl. 22.4



Writing of Creti while the artist was still alive, Zanotti stated that the artist preferred representations of grace and elegance to those of force and terror.  The present drawing substantiates this claim.  Unconnected to any specific composition, yet reminiscent of many, this chalk drawing is a remarkably sensitive depiction of a young man.  The elegant dress that climbs his neck, together with his swirling hair seem to frame the gentle distracted features of the subject.  This study would not seem to be a portrait drawing; rather a kind of ideal head, an elaboration of a studio model transformed by the artist into something universal.