Attributed to Sir Peter Lely (Dutch, working in England, 1618-1680), "Seated Male Figure Looking to His Right", 1666, black chalk with white highlights (the latter applied selectively to drapery modeling and anatomy), on prepared brown wove paper without watermark, unsigned, but inscribed en verso "2 may 1666"; 22 7/8 x 15 3/4 in., colored in later purplish-white paint (apparently on original paper) in a 1 1/2 /2-inch inverted L-shaped strip extending approx. 20 in. along left edge, ending in a similar 4 1/2 in.-long strip horizontally along edge of triangular repair at upper left. Provenance: James R. Lamantia Jr., New Orleans and New York. Note : This unusually large, powerful, and impressive drawing is dated on its verso in English; and the evident contemporaneity of that inscription is proven by its close similarity to the date of ""1666"" written at the bottom of the Ashmolean Museum's portrait drawing of John Aubrey, by Lely's almost exact contemporary William Faithorne (1616-1691). It happens that 1666 is the very year that Lely inaugurated his most celebrated series of portraits, the Admirals (or flag-officers who had served under the Duke of York at the Battle of Lowestoft, 1665), now in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. There is no evidence that this is indeed one of Lely's standard ""posture drawings"" that were offered to sitters, as aids to the selection of their attitudes in his portraits; but its style, technique and materials are intimately close to theirs-though this sheet is in fact unusual in showing at least parts of an entire figure, arranged in a pose that is manifestly more informal than either those of a studio pattern book, or probably than those others which were made for a sitter's retention (in very large numbers, and widely diverse types, principally by Lely himself). Lely, who grew up in The Hague and was trained at Haarlem, came to London in the early 1640s and in 1661-62 became a naturalized British subject, as well as First Painter to the King (that is Charles II, who was restored to the throne after the English Civil War in 1660). Entirely by his own hand, Lely produced many hundreds of paintings of the raffish worthies of the Restoration; with the help of the large army of assistants whom he employed, the number of his studio works and replicas rises into the thousands. He became enormously rich, and used most of his income to acquire works of art: he owned some twenty-five capital paintings by his great predecessor Van Dyck, and also (according to the catalogue of a 1682 sale after his death) pictures and sculptures by such preeminent artists as Veronese, Correggio, Holbein, Claude Lorrain, and Bernini. His roughly 10,000 prints and drawings constituted probably the finest collection assembled to that time (it was catalogued in 1688 and 1694); the drawings included sheets by Leonardo, Raphael, Giulio, Polidoro, Parmigianino (some 100 studies), Primaticcio, Barocci, the Zuccari, the Carracci, and Rubens. The present sheet was thought by James Lamantia to bear some affinity to life studies by Guercino (1591-1666), and indeed the latter's Reclining Nude Youth of 1618/19 in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle (inv. no. 01227, MS inv. A. 125)-as well as in three other nearly identical ""academy drawings,"" in Malibu, Saint Louis, and Genoa-are all similarly rendered in black and white chalk on brown paper close to the shade and size of this drawing. But the Guercino full-figure ""academies"" are discernibly different in the minutiae of their handling, in precisely those respects in which this figure is most characteristic of Lely and his circle. So the label in English on this sheet (which does not simply record Guercino's death, since he died at Bologna on 22 December 1666) tends to confirm its production by-or in the studio of-Peter Lely, who might very well have used as a model one of the drawings by Guercino that he may himself have owned. References: John Woodward, Tudor and Stuart Drawings, London, 1951, pp. 30-35, 49-52, pls. 34-50; Sir Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain, 1530 to 1790, Harmondsworth, 1969, esp. ch. 6, ""The Age of Lely;"" Oliver Millar, ""Lely,"" Grove Dictionary of Art, Jane Turner, ed., London, 1996, 34 vols., vol. 19, pp. 119-125; Nicholas Turner, Guercino: Drawings from Windsor Castle, Washington, 1991, pp. 30-32, no. 6."

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