Head of a Bearded Man
Few Medieval drawings survive. This very refined and unusually well-preserved study was probably created by an artist in the immediate circle of the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV (r. 1355-78) at Prague. The sheet was probably made as an exemplar in a modelbook rather than as a preliminary study for a specific work. The bearded man with an intent gaze and portraitlike presence evokes a biblical patriarch, prophet, or apostle. The meticulous artist delicately outlined the figure with a fine pen and added modelling with the tip of the brush. Although working on a relatively small scale, the artist achieved a stunningly sculptural conception of form.
Anonymous, Bohemian, 14th century