black chalk with touches of white chalk, on buff paper
The Rt. Hon. Gwen, Lady Melchett
This is a preparatory study for Barocci's last painting, the Madonna and Child commissioned by Prince Orazio Albani and now in the collection of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Rome (fig. 1). Several other related drawings are known. The present study most closely resembles one in the Biblioteca Comunale, Urbania (inv. 199, II) but presumably precedes it, as the figure of the mother is nude and her ace less idealised than in the Urbania study. The position of the Christ Child is the same in both, but differs from that of the painting. For further information on the painting and the related drawings, see Andrea Emiliani, Federico Barocci, Bologna 1985, vol. II, pp. 420-427. In this late work, Barocci treats his subject with a highly characteristic intimacy and tenderness.