- Museum number
Head of a woman to front, her eyes lowered, with hair tied back. 1505-7
Silverpoint with brush and grey wash (carbon based-material; black chalk?) heightened with lead white, over blind stylus, on pink prepared paper
- Production date
- 1505-1507 (circa)
Height: 218 millimetres
Width: 181 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The technique of metalpoint on a coloured ground and the style of the features seen here and in Dürer's drawing 'Head of a boy, inclined to the left', (inv.no. Sl,5218.41) were probably inspired by Italian fifteenth-century drawings. This technique and the fact that the surface of the sheet has suffered abrasions down the right side of the figure's face, have created some difficulties in dating the sheet. However, the intense interest in the finished rendering of the face and the brush-work which gives the effect of a polished surface, is very close to Dürer's brush drawings on blue paper of 1506 for his altarpiece of the 'Feast of the Rose Garlands', such as the 'Portrait of an architect' in Berlin (KdZ 2274)) and to the 'Head of a Young Woman' in the Albertina, Vienna (Strauss 1506/32) which were probably made about the same period. The distinctive watermark in this sheet, also seen in 'Head of a boy inclined to the left' (Sloane 5218-41) reveals that Dürer used the same stock of paper for drawings made over a period of time (see Russell, Rayner and Bescoby, 2016 for detailed description of the watermark, images and analysis of the technique).
Lit. from J.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, BM Press, 1993, no. 169: JCR, p. 176, no. 525; Lippmann, part iii, p. 23, no. 96, repr.; Conway, p. 23, no. 370; Pauli, p. 37, no. 1065; BM Guide, 1928, p. 28, no. 269; Flechsig, Dürer, ii, pp. 291f.; Winkler, Dürer, ii, pp. 15f., no. 286, repr.; Tietze, iii, p. 121, no. A 344, repr.; Panofsky, ii, p. 117, no. 1169; Rowlands, Dürer, p. 22, no. 124; Strauss, i, p. 434, no. 1497/3, repr.; B M Dürer and Holbein, p. 84, no. 56, repr.
Additional lit: Giulia Bartrum, 'Dürer and his Legacy', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 2002, no.101; Iris Brahms, 'Zwischen Licht und Schatten: zur Tradition der Farbgrundzeichnung bis Albrecht Dürer', Paderborn, 2016, p. 242, repr.; Giulia Bartrum in 'Drawing in Silver and Gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns', edited by Stacey Sell and Hugo Chapman, Princeton and Oxford, 2015, p. 71, pl.27; Joanna Russell, Judith Rayner and Jenny Bescoby, ' Northern European Metalpoint Drawings: technical examination and analysis', London, 2016, pp. 16, 41, 42, 57.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1928 BM London, Guide Woodcuts, Drawings of A. Dürer, no. 269
1971 BM, 'Dürer' no.124
1988 Jul-Oct, BM, 'Age of Dürer & Holbein', no. 56
1996/7 Sep-Jan, BM, Malcolm Collection, no. 68
2002/3 Dec-Mar, no. 101
2004 Mar-Jun, London, National Gallery, 'Dürer and the Virgin in the Garden'
2015 May-Jul, Washington, National Gallery of Art, 'Drawing in Silver and Gold'
2015 10 Sep-6 Dec, London, British Museum, 'Drawing in Silver and Gold'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number