Masquerader in the guise of a Prisoner.jpg (c.1502 – c.1517; Paris, France) by Leonardo da Vinci

Masquerader in the guise of a Prisoner.jpg - Leonardo da Vinci - c.1502 - c.1517; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitleMasquerader in the guise of a Prisoner.jpg
ArtistLeonardo da Vinci
Datec.1502 - c.1517; Paris, France
Dimensions18.2 x 12.7 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance

About Masquerader in the guise of a Prisoner.jpg

The artwork titled “Masquerader in the guise of a Prisoner” is attributed to the eminent High Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, thought to have been crafted between circa 1502 and circa 1517 in Paris, France. This intricate sketch, rendered in chalk on paper, measures 18.2 by 12.7 cm and is understood to be both a study and a sketch. It forms part of the celebrated “Codex Atlanticus,” an extensive collection of Leonardo’s manuscripts and drawings. The artwork meticulously captures a figure, presumably a masquerader, dressed to resemble a prisoner.

In this meticulous chalk sketch, we observe a figure leaning on a staff, with a pronounced sense of weight being placed on the right leg. The contours of the muscles and the drapery of the garments are expertly rendered, creating a striking sense of realism—an attribute often celebrated in Leonardo’s work. The masquerader is adorned in loose-fitting, tattered attire that suggests the clothing one might associate with a prisoner from that era. The use of shadows and light adeptly crafts volume in the subject’s form, from the curls of hair atop the figure’s head to the detailed depiction of the binds at the ankles.

Each element of the clothing—the ties at the knees, the patches on the trousers, and the layers of the upper garment—is captured with attention to texture and movement, contributing to the overall dynamic quality of the sketch. The figure’s face, turned slightly away from the viewer, exudes an expression of contemplation or perhaps resignation.

As is typical of Leonardo’s works, this sketch offers insight into his profound understanding of human anatomy and his mastery of representing the human form in various poses and costumes. This piece exemplifies not only Leonardo’s technical prowess but also his endless curiosity about the human condition, as depicted through this portrayal of a character in performance or disguise.

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