Image Resources: Exhibitions

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Barocci: A lesson in drawing


The National Gallery exhibition 'Barocci: Brilliance and Grace' was the first UK public display of paintings by one of the greatest masters of the 16th century, Federico Barocci.

One of the most appreciated aspects of the exhibition was the display of related drawings alongside his pictures. With the exception of a number of rather impressive landscape and architectural drawings, Barocci’s works on paper are all preparatory for his paintings.

The selection presented here comprises all the surviving drawings related to Barocci’s only picture in the National Gallery, ‘The Madonna of the Cat (‘La Madonna del Gatto’)’, NG29. They are divided into types of drawings (according to the Italian tradition), supports, media, drawings certainly related to the painting and others which are close to it, but not necessarily connected. Through this extensive series of preparatory sheets we can reconstruct exactly how Barocci’s design evolved from conception to completion. More widely they also provide valuable information about the practice of drawing in Italy.

Virginia Napoleone, McCrindle Curatorial Assistant, The National Gallery
August 2013

Image N-0029-00-000064-WZ
NG29: Federico Barocci, The Madonna of the Cat ('La Madonna del Gatto'), probably about 1575, Oil on canvas, (112.7 x 92.7 cm)


This project was made possible by The Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation and with the generous support of Sam Fogg; Mr & Mrs William Hobhouse; Lady Lever; Flavia Ormond; Barbara, Lady Poole; Hannah Rothschild; Sir Angus & Lady Stirling; and Tavolozza Foundation, Katrin Bellinger.

We would also like to thank the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett; Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino and Biblioteca Oliveriana, Pesaro for their collaboration.

How to use this resource

Explore the sections below to discover how Federico Barocci created the ‘The Madonna of the Cat (‘La Madonna del Gatto’)’.
To view the painting alongside a drawing, toggle the 'Single view/Twin view' button bottom right and then choose the painting from the thumbnails.

Available resources