Self-Portrait Wearing a Cloth Hat

In this honest and direct self-portrait apparently made for its own sake, Jonathan Richardson the Elder used the blue paper that artists in Venice so often preferred. Drawing late in his life, Richardson focused on his face, with its firm mouth, dimpled chin, and pouchy eyes, rather than his clothing. The blue served as a middle tone, with the shadows and outlines drawn in black chalk and the gleaming tip of his nose, the edges of his lips, and his scarf highlighted in white. The smudgy, roughly applied black chalk accentuates the impression of deep shadows cast by the tilt of the turban, headgear popular with artistic types in the 1700s.

Black chalk heightened with white chalk on blue paper (about 1730-1735)

by Jonathan Richardson the Elder (British, 1667-1745)

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