Lot 23
  • 23

Pietro Berrettini, called Pietro da Cortona

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pietro Berrettini, called Pietro da Cortona
  • A young man holding a dish seen in profile
  • Black chalk with some touches of white chalk;
    bears old attribution in pen and brown ink: P. da Corton


C.R. Rudolf, London,
his sale, London, Sotheby's, Fine Italian and French Drawings from the Collection of the Late Mr. C.R. Rudolf, 4 July 1977, lot 116


London, Arts Council, Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Mr C.R. Rudolf, 1962, no. 54, reproduced

Catalogue Note

A typical late black chalk study by Pietro da Cortona, this sheet bears a traditional attribution to the artist.  Although the young man holding a dish cannot be directly related to any known painting, a rather similar figure occurs in the 1653 canvas, Sacrifice to Diana, formerly in the Palazzo Barberini but now lost (fig. 1).Broadly and vigorously executed, indicating clear areas of light and shade, the style of this drawing is characteristic of Cortona's late period and can be compared with a number of other studies, for instance two drawings of single figures, executed in the same media, which relate to the mosaic pendentives after Cortona's designs in St. Peter’s in Rome, a decoration commissioned from the artist by Pope Innocent X, Pamphili in 1652.2  

In the present work, the three-quarter-length figure occupies the entirety of the sheet, conveying a certain monumentality and a three dimensional quality that can be seen in other drawings dating from the 1650s.  See for example another study in the Louvre for a seated female figure which, according to Jörg Martin Merz, could be a first idea for the figure of Sta. Martina in Cortona’s fresco decoration in the choir of the Chiesa Nuova, Rome (1655-1659).3 

Dr. Merz has kindly informed us that judging from an image, the old attribution seems convincing. 

1. The painting was in the Barberini collection until 1934. It was sold during the Second World War to Hitler, and it is now lost. See G. Briganti, Pietro da Cortona, Florence 1962, pp. 254-255, reproduced fig. 265

2. Paris, Musée du Louvre, inv. nos. 540 and 546; see B. Gady, Pietro da Cortona, Milan 2011, p. 75, nos. 37, 38, reproduced figs. 37, 38

3. Paris, Musée du Louvre inv. no. 533; see Gady, op. cit., pp. 73-74, fig. 33