Head of a girl - by Leonardo da Vinci

This study, dated 1483, is in silverpoint on prepared paper. Of all Leonardo's drawings this is probably among the most polished and eloquent.

The drawing is of a young girl. As angels were deemed to be asexual, Leonardo made the gender of the figure more ambiguous in the final painting. This exceptionally beautiful face is powerfully presented with the eyes regarding the viewer directly but with a dispassionate gaze. The beautiful handling of the tonal hatching gives the whole head a three-dimensional quality and the drawing of the features is both subtle and vigorous. The soul of this young person seems visible in her eyes. The fluid, loose lines of the outline of the hair and figure emphasize the power of the face. What a remarkable artist this man was, that in so few lines he presents us with a living being. We are indeed seeing the divine spirit in the human face.