Prints and Drawings
Artist: Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, called Il Battistello, Italian, 1578–1635

Compositional Study

ca. 1616–20

Black and white chalk with touches of red chalk on blue paper

sheet: 30.8 × 35.6 cm (12 1/8 × 14 in.)
Everett V. Meeks, B.A. 1901, Fund
Working in Naples, Giovanni Battista Caracciolo was one of the first artists to adopt the figural style and shadowy compositions of Caravaggio after the latter arrived in the city in 1606. Unlike Caravaggio, however, who is reputed never to have made preparatory drawings, Caracciolo continued to draw, following the practice that he learned from his first master, Belisario Corenzio. Yet, this study demonstrates the slightly piecemeal approach to composition and the seemingly disjointed limbs typical of caravaggismo, which favored emotion and drama over the accurate depiction of anatomy. The elaborately folded draperies, minimalist indications of features, and technically brilliant foreshortening (see the figure at lower left) are particular characteristics of Caracciolo’s draftsmanship.
Italian, Naples
17th century
Works on Paper - Drawings and Watercolors

European trade, by 2005; Hill-Stone, Inc., New York, 2005; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Suzanne Boorsch and John J. Marciari, Master Drawings from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 24, 130–31, no. 38, ill.

This work appears on our "Artworks with Nazi-Era Provenance Documentation Gaps" page.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.