Bartolommeo Montagna, A Study for Christ Enthroned

Artist | Bartolommeo Montagna (1450–1523) 
TitleA Study for Christ Enthroned 
Date | ca. 1500–1520  
Medium | Watercolour and white bodycolour, over black chalk, on blue paper 
Dimensions | 316 x 222 mm 
Institution | Royal Collection Trust, Windsor 
Credit line |  © Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021 
Theme | The Celestial Realm 
Museum number | RCIN 912823

Bartolomeo Montagna (1450–1523) was a leading painter with a notable reputation in his hometown of Vicenza. He operated one of the most prosperous workshops on the Venetian terraferma. Often commissioned for altarpieces, Montagna is most recognised for his linear modelling and soft, luminous landscapes, possibly influenced by Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1435–1516). In this drawing, for which the intended purpose is unknown, instead of depicting Christ as static – the convention for quattrocento art – Montagna depicts Christ with an individualised face, as commanding yet expressive, and full of movement. His subject, deliberately articulated with white and blue ink that works to create tonal dimension, sits at an angle holding an orb with both hands. Using methods of hatching on blue paper, Montagna’s drawing demonstrates how combining the technique and medium creates more naturalistic appearances and forceful colours.