Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Francesco Monti, Italian (Bologna 1685 - 1768 Brescia)
Standing Helmeted Male Nude Unsheathing a Dagger
Work Type
18th century
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Black chalk on cream antique laid paper adhered to cream card
44 x 30 cm (17 5/16 x 11 13/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: black chalk, lower right: 18
  • inscription: verso, brown ink, top left: 663
  • inscription: verso, graphite, top left: 28
  • inscription: verso, graphite, top right: 4
Colnaghi, London ("An Exhibition of Old Master Drawings," June 28-July 21, 1984, no. 33, repr.); Jeffrey E. Horvitz, Boston (acquired in 1984); gift to Harvard Art Museum, 2008
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Jeffrey E. Horvitz
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Monti, one of the most distinguished Emilian artists of his generation, worked in a neo-Mannerist style that was popular during the first half of the eighteenth century. Respect and admiration for his talent eventually led to innumerable prestigious commissions and his elevation to the post of Principe of the Accademia Clementina (the artistic academy of Bologna).

The supple contours and the replacement of cross-hatching with a subtle blending of chalks to achieve various levels of contrast makes this study a perfect example of why Monti's draftsmanship has often been viewed as the most eloquent example of the so-called soft-chalk style. A number of these studies, probably dating to the 1720s, once part of the Academia Clementina's teaching collection, are now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna. The numbers at the bottom right of this sheet and on other drawings in this group--often misunderstood as the numbering of sketchbook pages--is almost certainly related to the classification system used to organize the drawings when they were in the academy's collection.
Publication History

An Exhibition of Old Master Drawings, auct. cat., P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. Ltd. (London, 1984), no. 33, repr.

Linda Wolk-Simon, Italian Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Jeffrey E. Horvitz, exh. cat., University of Florida (Gainesville, FL, 1991), no. 26, repr.

Renaissance to Futurism: Italian Drawings 1500-1920, auct. cat., Stephen Ongpin (London, 2015), under no. 39, note 6

Elena Rossoni, Studi di nudi virili di Francesco Monti alla Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Aperto, Pinacoteca Nazionale Bologna (Bologna, June 2016), no. 3, pp. 26-46, pp. 36-37, repr. p. 37 as fig. 16

Exhibition History

Italian Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Jeffrey E. Horvitz, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainsville, 07/12/1991 - 09/08/1991; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, 10/06/1991 - 11/17/1991; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 12/14/1991 - 02/16/1992; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/15/1992 - 10/11/1992; Taft Museum, Cincinnati, 11/19/1992 - 01/10/1993; Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Montreal, 01/29/1993 - 03/21/1993

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at