Attributed to Pietro Testa (Italy, 1612-1650) Baroque pen and ink sketch or study on laid paper, depicting male figures ranging from young to old, in various poses. Unsigned. Bears black ink stamp for the collection of the Earl of Dalhousie lower left. Mounted onto cardstock within a gilt and black drawn "frame" and light blue mat, with pencil inscriptions lower left of mat reading "Pietro Testa" and lower right "Coll. Earl of Dalhousie". Additionally pencil inscribed en verso of cardstock "Pietro Testa, Coll. Earl of Dalhousie". Housed in a gilt wood frame with beige mat; label en verso of backing board for Kennedy Galleries, New York. Drawing – 7 3/4" H x 5 3/4" W. Sight w/ Mat – 8 3/8" H x 5 7/8" W. Framed – 15" H x 13" W. Provenance: a New York record producer's estate, acquired in the 1960s from Kennedy Galleries. Note: The Earl of Dalhousie collection stamp was discovered in two 18th century albums of Italian drawings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. These were acquired by P. and D. Colnaghi & Company, London in 1922. The first album was sold in individual sheets by Cassirer of Berlin and the second album was transferred to the Frits Lugt collection. Remnants of the two albums were sold in 1955 by Sotheby's London. (Source: http://www.marquesdecollections.fr/detail.cfm/marque/6509/total/1). Biography: Pietro Testa was among the most renowned Italian printmakers and draftsmen of the 1600s. Testa studied with Domenichino and with Pietro da Cortona, who was highly influential on his drawing but who ultimately dismissed Testa due to his difficult personality. He also came into contact with Poussin, who influenced his style of painting. Seeking patronage, he traveled between Lucca and Rome, often supporting himself by making prints characterized, like his paintings, by numerous human figures engaged in a variety of actions. Back in Rome by 1638, he finally received several public commissions for paintings including the "Presentation of the Virgin," c. 1642, for the Buonvisi Chapel (now in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg) and the "Vision of Sant'Angelo Carmelitano" c. 1646 at S. Martino ai Monti, Rome. However, his work failed to receive full public recognition, and he is said to have grown despondent and drowned himself in the Tiber River in 1650 (source: the J. Paul Getty Museum; British Museum). CONDITION: Sketch is adhered to a cardstock backing within a gilt and black drawn "frame". Small fold with loss lower right corner; light stains/abrasions at some far edges. Light toning throughout.
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