carry around a notebook and record their observations of real life — of people spontaneously interacting with each other in public places, for example — and not to erase these valuable jottings. In some cases, we can see he subsequently reinforced in ink the rapid notes taken from something seen in the street.
But drawings are not always made from life. In some cases, such as the Raphael study for the Madonna with the Fish at the Prado, the purpose is to set out the composition of the painting, after which detailed sketches from life would be made of individual figures. The drawing establishes the most effective placing and attitudes for Tobias and the angel Raphael on the left, and St Jerome — recognisable here by his lion — as well as the central group of Mary and the infant Jesus.
Here then, the overall construction and the masses of light and shade are what matter most, and the materials employed are correspondingly different. The figures have been lightly drawn first with black chalk, then the lights and shades have been blocked in with brush and wash; the paper is, as usual, tinted to give a mid-tone; brown wash is used for shadows and white body colour for highlights.
The same techniques are used more than two centuries later by Tiepolo in his study of the Holy Family with two angels: the figures have been lightly drawn with black chalk, the big areas of shadow have been brushed in with