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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A standing masquerader c.1517-18

Black chalk | 21.4 x 10.7 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912577

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A drawing of a figure in an elaborate costume, seen full length, facing the spectator, with the head inclined downwards and to the right. The left arm is covered with a cloak, with the hand on the hip. The right, with an elaborate beribboned sleeve, is stretched down to the side. The figure is rather androgynous, but the thick waist and the stance with legs planted apart must indicate that it is a man. He holds the edge of a long skirt up to the waist, showing the scalloped edges of a tunic and a sheer underskirt that reveals the left leg to the top of the thigh. This may have been Leonardo's way of indicating the structure of the costume to the seamstresses. The highly atmospheric handling of black chalk is typical of Leonardo's latest drawings. Text adapted from 'Leonardo da Vinci: the Divine and the Grotesque'