RAFFAELLO Sanzio
(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

Study for the Head of a Poet

c. 1511
Silverpoint on pink prepared paper, 122 x 103 mm
Museo Horne, Florence

Parnassus is the mountain where the laurel trees which supplied the wreaths of the poets grew. In the fresco, Raphael creates an ideal poetic trio composed of Homer in the centre, with the modern Italian poet Dante on the left and Virgil, Dante's guide in the Divine Comedy, on the right. Virgil looks behind Homer in the direction of Dante, who returns the gaze. While Dante is shown in profile and Homer is fully frontal, Virgil's face, tilted back, is in three-quarter view. In this drawing, a study for the fourth figure from the left in the Parnassus, often identified as Petrarch, Raphael studies a similar face in three-quarter profile.




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