GHIRLANDAIO, Davide
(b. 1452, Firenze, d. 1525, Firenze)

Bust Portraits of Two Boys (recto)

c. 1490
Metalpoint, white highlighting on ochre yellow prepared paper, 218 x 280 mm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The drawings on this double-sided sheet depict the same two youths twice, first as subjects of the portraits on the recto and second as models for the full-length standing figures in heavy mantles on the verso. The boys were probably workshop assistants (garzoni). The heads on the recto are not formal studies for finished portraits, but rather life studies made as exercises in the workshop.

The attribution to Davide Ghirlandaio comes from Bernard Berenson (1903), however, it is contested by recent critics.