To these Rosenberg and Prat have added a third drawing: A Barbarian prisoner, executed in the same media, which appeared on the London art market in 1977.3 On stylistic grounds, Rosenberg and Prat have rejected the attribution to Poussin of all three of these studies, suggesting that the greatest similarities are rather with the work of Pietro Testa. The name of Pietro Testa seems to be a plausible alternative for this attractive sheet, characterized by a fine and sensitive pen line, enriched with abundant brown wash. It is carefully and delicately drawn, and although the artist was somewhat constrained by the fact that he was copying from an ancient model, he appears to have been especially interested in characterizing the soldiers' strong facial expressions.
Testa, who was working for Cassiano dal Pozzo for some time from around 1630, made a large number of drawings after the Antique. Most of these are preserved in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, while a smaller and less well known group, also from Cassiano’s Museo Cartaceo, is now in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities in the British Museum.4
1. A. Blunt, The Drawings of Poussin, London 1979, pp. 131ff
2. Inv. no. 2886; A. Blunt, op. cit., 1974, p. 243, pl. 13
3. Sale, London, Christie's, 8 March 1977, part of lot 92 (as N. Poussin); Rosenberg and Prat, op. cit., vol. III, p. 824, no. R. 211
4. N. Turner, ‘The Drawings of Pietro Testa after the Antique in Cassiano dal Pozzo's Paper Museum,’ Cassiano dal Pozzo's Paper Museum,vol. II, 1992, pp. 127-144
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