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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

A male nude, and a partial study of the left leg


Creator: Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) (artist)
Creation Date: 
Materials and techniques: 
Red chalk (partly wetted) on red prepared paper
22.6 x 16.7 cm
RL 12593
P(L) 332
K&P 85
Acquirer: Charles II, King of Great Britain (1630-85)
Bequeathed to Francesco Melzi; from whose heirs purchased by Pompeo Leoni, c.1582-90; Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, by 1630; Probably acquired by Charles II; Royal Collection by 1690

A study of the nude figure of a man seen full length, facing the spectator. His legs are set well apart, and his arms are slightly raised from his sides, resting on two sticks which are slightly indicated. To the left is part of a flexed left leg.

Around the time of his work on the great painting of the Battle of Anghiari, left unfinished and later destroyed, Leonardo made many studies of male nudes - not directly preparatory for the mural, but background research on the human form. While it was important for the artist to know how to draw the muscles in tension, it was just as important to know how to draw the body when relaxed. Here the model spreads his legs equally to balance his weight distribution, and supports his arms by holding sticks so as to put no strain on the shoulder muscles.

Text adapted from 'Leonardo da Vinci: the Divine and the Grotesque'

Further details

Unframed Drawings / Watercolours