Raphael, Nude Man with raised arms, a drawing

Italy, around AD 1511-12

This is one of a series of black chalk drawings for an altarpiece on the theme of the Resurrection of Christ. It shows a nude study for a Roman guard cowering from the appearance of the Risen Christ above him. The muscular form, the dramatic pose of the figure as he shields his face from the light of Christ and the sudden turning movement of the body all show the artist's understanding of the work of Michelangelo. Raphael had fully absorbed the ideal and heroic forms of Michelangelo's figures then being painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Rome.

In this drawing, however, Raphael was less concerned with every detail of the body and its musculature. Rather, in a careful study of the posed model, he suggests the dynamic movement of the body in the outline of the figure and the shadows. The hatching provides the shading of the powerful muscles of both arms and legs. He focused on the upper torso and the complex position of the foreshortened arms and legs. An alternative and more open position for the right leg was drawn to the left.

Raphael designed but never painted this altarpiece for the Chigi Chapel in S. Maria della Pace, Rome, which he decorated for his friend, Agostino Chigi, a wealthy Sienese banker, around 1511-12.

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More information


P. Pouncey and J. A. Gere, Italian drawings in the Depa-3 (London, The British Museum Press, 1962)

P. Joannides, The drawings of Raphael (Phaidon, 1983)

F. Ames-Lewis, The draftsman Raphael (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1986)

J.A Gere and N. Turner, Drawings by Raphael, from the, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)


Height: 291.000 mm
Width: 325.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1854-5-13-11



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