Portrait of a child, before 1818

Here you see several ways of handling a pencil in a single drawing: The curls are drawn with a never-tiring love of the precise individual stroke. The soft hairs positively stiffen through the severe shaping of the individual strands – they almost look like wood shavings. The face is an entirely different matter.

Here the draughtsman has so varied the pressure placed on the sharp pencil that it creates a black line in some places, and a scarcely perceptible trace of light grey in others. He thus achieves an impressive verisimilitude, especially in the area of the eyes and mouth. On the larger surfaces, the draughtsman handles his pencil much more freely. There, he guides it with a light touch and contents himself with nothing more than intimations. It is not clear, by the way, whether the drawing is really by Overbeck. Several other artists from his immediate circle likewise come into consideration; much speaks in favour of Carl Philipp Fohr.

Photo: Städel Museum – U. Edelmann – ARTOTHEK

Pencil on velin paper
214 × 186 mm
Inv. No. 15270

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