Bust of a Youth Reading a Book Turned to the Left

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta

Venice, 1683 – 1754


Charcoal, black and white chalk on blue-grey paper, 344 x 275mm

This drawing was referenced as part of the Estense collection as early as 1854 in Ferdinando Castellani Tarabini’s ‘Cenni storici e descrittivi intorno alle pitture della reale Galleria Estense’.

Adolfo Venturi’s attribution of the piece to the famous Venetian artist (publishing the drawing for the first time in 1822) stands undisputed. The bust of the young boy intent on reading a book was part of the artist’s most famous series of drawings (1735-1740) nicknamed ‘Teste di carattere’ and ‘Teste al naturale’ by Giambattista Albrizzi and Alessandro Longhi respectively. From a conservation point of view the excellent quality of this drawing enables us to appreciate Piazzetta’s aptitude for the medium of black chalk.