(b. 1449, Firenze, d. 1494, Firenze)

Confirmation of the Rule

c. 1483
Ink drawing on paper, 249 x 370 mm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

It is fortunate that this drawing survives, for it is probably Ghirlandaio's study for the fresco Confirmation of the Rule in the Sassetti Chapel of the Santa Trinita, Florence. While the figural arrangements are similar, Francesco Sassetti and Lorenzo de' Medici were not yet included, nor were the local Florentine references in the background. In this early preparatory drawing, Ghirlandaio organized the composition in front of the nave of a vaulted church. It is likely that he had to prepare such studies so that the donor could make such alterations or additions as he desired. When Ghirlandaio came to paint the fresco, he changed the character of the narrative: the depiction of ecclesiastical matters became less important than the exhibition of secular power.