(b. ca. 1540, Bergamo, d. ca. 1596, Milano)

Head of an Old Bearded Man

Black chalk and gesso on dark paper, 225 x 177 mm
Musei Civici del Castello, Milan

Despite his Bergamasque roots and his training in Venice, Simone Peterzano, Caravaggio's teacher, made many preparatory drawings before beginning to paint. Compositional sketches in pen and ink were followed by studies for each figure, using the same technique, before he finished with drawings of the details, taking them from life. In turning to details of the figures, Peterzano studied anatomy by numerous drawings in black chalk or charcoal with white heightening on dark prepared paper. One such study depicts a bearded face associated with a shepherd at the left of the Adoration of the Shepherds, frescoed in the presbytery of the Certosa di Garegnano, Milan.