Studies of Four Male Heads
These four heads display a range of facial expressions and positions. The dignified gaze of the head at upper left contrasts with the more introverted, downward look of its counterpart on the upper right. The profile at the lower left acts as a foil to the opposite face emitting an agonized cry. Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra varied the way each scarf was tied about the hair to reflect the wearer's range of emotion. The sheet may have come from a book of instructional models for drawing. For centuries, European artists had created such modelbooks as patterns to be copied by apprentices and workshop assistants. His contemporaries admired and remarked on Saavedra's unusual technique of drawing with a reed pen, which he used to create strokes of varying thickness. Another Spanish painter and writer observed that the artist "looked for some ditch reeds or thin shafts that have long tubes, cutting them into thick pens."
Reed pen and brown ink (about 1660-1668)
by Antonio Castillo y Saavedra (Spanish, 1616-1668)
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