Jörg Merz was the first to suggest the attribution to Baldi and he also noted that the drawing illustrates the Biblical passage, I Peter 3.29, which states that Christ "preached unto the spirits in prison." Alternatively, the subject could be St. Peter or St. Paul in prison, but neither is usually represented in this way. Dr. Merz has also made a convincing suggestion that the studies on the verso are connected to the figure of St. John being thrown into boiling oil, in Baldi's fresco in S. Giovanni in Oleo, Rome. A composition study for that work is at Chatsworth.1
1. M. Jaffé, The Devonshire Collection...Roman and Neapolitan Schools, London 1994, p. 42, no. 157, reproduced; for the fresco, see J.M. Merz, Pietro da Cortona und sein Kreis, Munich 2005, p. 314, fig. 344
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