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This figurative portrait is a print reproduction of the original which was sadly destoyed in the early 20th century
Age has not been kind to this particular artwork but it holds prominence within Velazquez's drawings due to the fact that so few items in this medium still exist. The charcoal lines look particularly heavy when compared to some of his chalk work, though poor preservation of the sketch has probably exaggerated this somewhat.
The full title of this drawing, translated from its original Spanish name, is Study for the Guardian Angel in "Christ after the Flagellation Contemplated by the Christian Soul. The original was owned by the Instituto Jovellanos by was sadly destroyed in 1936 and all we are left with is a print copy that may not do the original drawing justice.
The relative fragility of such drawings ensures that many have not made it to the present day and because many artist's would not consider them significant by themselves, they would take even less care over their preservation. Many would not have realised that these study pieces would be researched and much loved themselves.
Christ after the Flagellation Contemplated by the Christian Soul was itself to be a highly significant painting for Diego Velazquez and this alone makes this study drawing an important addition to his portfolio. Despite its relatively poor reproduction as a print, we can still learn much about Velazquez's process on the original as well as the completed painting.
Whilst so little information is available on the artist's work as a draughtsman, it is much more helpful to continue to study his completed oil paintings, on which an awful lot more research has been completed.