Study of the heads of two men, both turned to left; the nearer being an old man with long beard, his eyes slightly lowered, the other a younger man Red chalk, over black chalk
- 1512-1516 (circa)
- Height: 288 millimetres
- Width: 201 millimetres
First published by Friedrich Winkler as a work by Hans Schäufelein, although Dodgson favoured Baldung as the author, a view which was supported by Friedländer (letter to Dodgson of 1 August 1936). The heads in this drawing are far more consonant with Baldung, both in their physical structure, a matter which Schäufelein tended to disregard, and in their characterisation, which in Schäufelein's mature works, often amounted to little more than a convenient formula (for example, his ‘Portrait of a bearded man’,signed and dated 1520, in Berlin (Kupferstichkabinett, KdZ. 1925). The power of the line and the mastery of details such as the ears in this drawing point to Baldung in his work c. 1512 - 1516. The head of the bearded old man recalls that of the figure of St Thomas kneeling on the right of the painting, ‘Crucifixion with saints and a donor’ (Basel, Kunstmuseum, inv. no. 17), signed and dated 1512, which was probably executed by Baldung for a church in Freiburg-im-Breisgau; and similar heads appear in his huge altarpiece of the 'Coronation of the Virgin' on which he worked during this period (installed in the Minster in Freiburg-im-Breisgau in 1516). An inferior copy of this sheet, in red chalk, inscribed 1545/GB, from the collections of Sir Thomas Lawrence (probably S. Woodburn, sale, Christie, 1860, 5 June, lot 438, as by Baldung, 'Two heads of saints -red chalk, bt with one other, Dale 9 s.) and V. Koch, and acquired in 1938 by the Kunsthalle, Bremen, is not known to have survived. Roth's study of the treatment of old age in drawings by Dürer and his two most signficant pupils, Hans Baldung and Hans Schäufelein was the subject of an exhibition in Berlin in 2006; a further impressive black chalk drawing of the head of a bearded man turned to the right can be added to this group with a convincing attribution to Baldung (London art market in 2016, see Jean-Luc Baroni, 'Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures', London, 2016, no. 21).
Lit. John Rowlands, 'Drawings by German Artists and Artists from German-speaking regions of Europe in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum: the Fifteenth Century, and the Sixteenth Century by Artists born before 1530', London,1993, no. 61 (with earlier lit.); Lit: Michael Roth, 'Dürer's Mutter: Schönheit, Alter und Tod im Bild der Renaissance', exh.cat. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, 2006, no. 61
Not on display (German Roy XVIc)
1984, BM, Master Drawings & Watercolours, no. 53 1988, July-Oct, BM, Age of Dürer & Holbein, no. 112 1971, BM, Dürer no.322
2006 May-July, Berlin Kupferstichkabinett, 'Dürers Mutter'
2014 Feb-May, London, National Gallery, 'Strange Beauty'
Prints & Drawings
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Object reference number: PDO3213
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