We are grateful to Professor Herwarth Röttgen who has confirmed the attribution to Cavalier d'Arpino from a photograph and provided the following information.1 The present handsome sheet is characteristic of Arpino's style of around 1600. It is a great and new addition to the understanding of the artist's oeuvre and a revelation about his use of coloured chalks at such an early stage. The variety of tonalities in the chalks creates a similar effect to pastel, a medium Arpino used in his later years and usually on large sheets of paper (see lot 50). Röttgen notes close similarities with the head of Antiope in a painting of Jupiter and Antiope of 1594 (whereabouts unknown),2 although he prefers the closer connection to the head of Europa in the Rape of Europa of 1603/6 (Borghese Gallery, Rome), one of the artist's most successful compositions.3 It is certainly comparable to the beautifully shaped oval head of the youthful Europa, who wears a similar ornamental headpiece and jewel.
1. Letter dated 18 March 2011
2. H. Röttgen, Il Cavalier Giuseppe Cesari d'Arpino. Un grande pittore nello splendore della fama e nell' incostanza della fortuna, Rome 2002, p. 285, no. 55, reproduced
3. Ibid., p. 365, no. 117, reproduced
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