Compositional Study Artist: Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, called Il Battistello (Italian, 1578–1635)

ca. 1616–20

Prints and Drawings

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.


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


sheet: 12 1/8 × 14 in. (30.8 × 35.6 cm)

Credit Line

Everett V. Meeks, B.A. 1901, Fund

Accession Number



17th century


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 records is ongoing.



European trade, by 2005; Hill-Stone, Inc., New York, 2005; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
This work appears on our "Artworks with Nazi-Era Provenance Documentation Gaps" page.
  • Lisa Hodermarsky, 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
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

figures (representations), human figures (visual works), sketches, studies (visual works)



Technical metadata and APIs


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