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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Recto: A masquerader in the guise of a prisoner. Verso: A nude male figure c.1517-18

RCIN 912573

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Recto: a drawing of a man dressed in rags, with shackled feet and wrists, asking for alms. He stands three-quarters to the right, with his right hand on a club, and his left outstretched. Verso: an outline of a nude male figure, facing the spectator, seen from the neck down, wearing loose socks. Towards the end of his life, Leonardo worked at the court of the French king Francis I. One of his duties was to design costumes for festivals. This drawing shows a prisoner, with a rope about his neck and waist, leading neatly to the shackles at his feet. The layers of rags worn by the figure have a decorative quality, which supports the notion that Leonardo was designing a costume rather observing a person from life.