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Week 4 – Barocci’s Pastel Drawings

February 14, 2011

Federico Barocci

Late 16th Century.


Federico Barocci had a unique way of preparing for a painting.  In his preparatory drawing, he would use three colors of pastel to sketch out not only the form of his subject and the modeling, but the color – particularly the flesh tones of the figure.

Barocci was known for his life-like skin tones in paintings.  It is clear to see he experimented until he got it just right in his drawings.  As color became more and more considered in the preparation and composition of a painting, Barocci’s drawing technique became an important influence on Baroque art, along with the Venetian innovation of the oil sketch.

Not only did Barocci have a knack for color, but he was also a master observer.  His figures are so naturalistic due to his careful observational skills.  Not only are the flesh tones precise according to emotion (i.e. red ears bloodshot eyes), but Barocci carefully incorporated each and every musculature movement associated with the particular emotion (furrowed brow, parting of the lips).  This is why Barocci’s figures display such stark, empathy evoking emotions.

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