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The Virgin standing, looking up to the right
Cano, Alonso
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Cano, Alonso

Granada, 1601 - Granada, 1667

Cano, Alonso See author's file

The Virgin standing, looking up to the right

1645 - 1650. Grey-brown wash, Pencil, Pencil ground on yellow laid paper.
Not on display

This drawing, probably a fragment of a finished composition for a Calvary, depicts the Virgin in a pronounced contrapposto position, looking to her right and slightly upwards, where she once saw her Son on the cross. The technique of this drawing is quintessentially the style of Cano: a slight preparatory sketch, followed by distinct contours and a wide range of lights and shadows, magnificently rendered by Cano’s brush. The good preservation of the drawing, despite having been trimmed, permits a full appreciation of the artist’s mastery of opaque watercolour.

The monumental character achieved in this drawing entails both visual and psychological effects. The Virgin’s grief ennobles her. Isolated from the narrative context of the Calvary, she becomes a model of contemplation. The ease with which the brush builds the volume and weight of the figure reminds that Cano, in addition to being a painter and an architect, was an accomplished sculptor. Each stroke of watercolour defines a plane or a touch of light, revealing Cano’s understanding of the three-dimensional form. Cano’s method of draping the human figure in abundant volumes of clothing suggests the possible influence of Goltzius’s prints depicting the Virtues and the Vices, engraved by Matham and Saenredam. Based on several stylistic similarities between this drawing and a number of the standing figures in the Getafe altarpiece, this work can be dated 1645–1650, just before Cano’s initial return to Granada.

Veliz, Zahira, Alonso Cano (1601-1667): dibujos, Santander, Fundación Marcelino Botín, 2009, p.220-221; nº 24


Technical data

Inventory number
Cano, Alonso
The Virgin standing, looking up to the right
1645 - 1650
Grey-brown wash; Pencil; Pencil ground
Yellow laid paper
Height: 173 mm; Width: 61 mm
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Sanchez Canton, F.J., Dibujos Españoles. Vol.IV.Alonso Cano, IV, Hauser y Menet, Madrid, 1930, pp. 358a.

Wethey, Harold, Alonso Cano's drawings, The Art bulletin, 34, 1952, pp. 225 y 230, nº XIV.

Orozco Díaz, Emilio, Alonso Cano y su escuela en el III centenario de su muerte, Caja de Ahorros, Granada, 1963, pp. 305.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de dibujos Vol. I. Dibujos españoles, siglos XV-XVII / por A. E. Pérez Sánchez, Madrid, 1972, pp. 52.

Wethey, Harold, Alonso Cano: pintor, escultor y arquitecto, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1983, pp. 161, D18.

Véliz, Zahira, Alonso Cano's Drawings and Related Works, Courtald Institute-London Univ., Londres, 1998, pp. nº 21.

Alonso Cano. Dibujos, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 137, nº 25.

Veliz, Zahira, Alonso Cano (1601-1667): dibujos, Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander, 2009, pp. 220-221; nº 24.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 81.
81. Otro idem [dibujo] de una Santa, del mismo [Alonso Cano]. Alto ocho y media pulgadas: Ancho tres pulgadas. Tiene Cristal y Marco de Nogal con un filete dorado liso.

Inv. General, Sección 3ª. Dibujos, grabados, acuarelas y miniaturas, 1879. Núm. 55.
Numeracion Antigua 81. [Numeración] Moderna 55. Una Santa A. Alonso Cano alto 0,18 ancho 0,11. con marco negro y cristal.

Inv. Dibujos, Fondo Antiguo. Núm. 45.

Inscriptions +

45 [sobre el soporte secundario]
Printmaking. Front

Inscribed. Front, lower right corner

Update date: 21-05-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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