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Study of a man kneeling

Bernadino Gatti

(1495-1496 - 1576) | 975.4.343

Date : Circa 1564 | Medium : Drawing in quill and black ink and quill and brown ink with brown wash and highlights in white gouache

This study was used to prepare the shape of a kneeling figure whose colossal stature stands out from the multitude of saints represented in the lower row of the cupola of the Santa Maria della Steccata church in Parma.

In 1560, Gatti was commissioned to paint an Assumption of the Virgin there, representing the encounter of Mary with Christ in the presence of all the saints in heaven. He began working on the fresco in 1564 and completed it in 1570. The cross borne on the shoulders of the figure in the definitive composition appears to identify him as Dismas, the Penitent thief.

Most of the studies of figures by Gatti share the very dynamic style seen here, far removed from the graphic style of Correggio, whom the old sources nevertheless claim to have been his master. The various media used – charcoal, quill and white gouache – combine to provide the figure with a very striking element of relief, in spite of the areas that have been left blank.

The artist customarily executed such partial corrections, which he achieved by pasting strips of paper to the page on which he refined the details of the pose.