Conrad Martin Metz (1749-1827)

The Death of the Children of Niobe Rome, 1820 Pen and brown ink and wash, heightened with white 454 x 684 mm Metz lived in Rome from 1801 until his death in 1827. This highly-worked presentation drawing treats the slaughter of Niobe’s seven sons and seven daughters by Apollo and Diana, a subject from Ovid … Read more

Italian School (early 15th century)

Head of Prudence Naples, Early 15th century Marble 26.3 x 16.4 x 15.9 cm Prudence was one of the four Cardinal Virtues; she is shown with two faces to represent her watchfulness. This fragment probably came from an early 15th century tomb sculpture in the Church of San Francesco, Gaeta, near Naples. It is said … Read more

Unrecorded Italian Artist (13th century)

Lion Mask Italy, perhaps Tuscany, 13th century Marble 33.4 x 31.5 x 14.5 cm The mask originally formed the head of a fountain, possibly for a public drinking supply. Mineral deposits around the mouth indicate water issued out of it. The high quality of the carving is reflected in the contrasting ways in which the … Read more

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1664)

God the Father regarding the Infant Christ  Rome, 1645-7 Etching Plate: 260 x 200 mm, mount: 557 x 406 mm Castiglione represents the Holy Family as natural human figures. A plump infant Christ sleeps peacefully, watched by the Virgin Mary and an unusually tangible and human God. Catistiglione was greatly influenced by Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro etchings … Read more

Bartolommeo Biscaino (1632-1657)

Holy Family Italy, Genoa Etching Plate: 180 x 180 mm, mount: 557 x 404 mm Mary lovingly clutches the young Christ, who stands upright in her lap as he turns his head to look at his father, Joseph. Biscaino’s delicate handling of the medium of etching is particularly evident in his use of chiaroscuro, the … Read more

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)

Zephyrus and Flora Venice, about 1750 Pen, brown wash and black chalk on paper 23.9 x 33 cm Tiepelo made this drawing as a study for the principal figures in the ceiling fresco he painted for the Room of Mirrors in the Palazzo Labia in Venice. He also produced a small oil sketch of the … Read more

ascribed to Pietro Antonio Novelli (1729-1804)

A Music Party Venice, about 1750 Pen and brown wash over black chalk 25 x 37.3 cm This small scale domestic scene, known as a conservation piece, was characteristic of mid 18th century art. In this example from Venice, the music party takes place during the annual carnival – the figure to the left wears … Read more

Francesco Guardi (1712-1793)

A Coastal Scene Venice, the 1770s Pen and brown wash with traces of black chalk 25.1 x 36.9 cm In addition to his topographical views of Venice, Francesco Guardi also produced imaginary landscapes such as this coastal scene from the 1770s. Such drawings repeat the same range of motifs taken from the Venetian lagoon – … Read more

Carlo Maratti (1625-1713)

Study for the Head of St Charles Borromeo Rome, 1658-90 Red chalk heightened with white on blue paper 36.1 x 27.9 cm This drawing is a study for the head of the figure of Saint Carlo Borromeo in the High Altarpiece of the Church of  S. Carlo al Corso, Rome. This study represents Saint Carlo … Read more

Agostino Carracci (1557-1602)

Ecce Homo Bologna, 1587 Etching Paper: 45 x 34.4 cm; mount: 63 x 51.5 cm  Depicting a standard cycle of the Passion of Christ, the words ‘Ecce Homo’ (‘Behold the Man’) were used by Pontius Pilate to present Christ to the jeering crowds before his crucifixion. Mary swoons in the foreground, an unusual addition to … Read more

Agostino Tassi (1578-1644)

Musicians  Rome, 17th century Pen and brown iron gall ink over black chalk on paper 12.1 x 15.4 cm Three comparable sheets of groups of music-makers are at the British Museum, a group of five standing musicians was with Christie’s in 2003 and three separate figure studies engaged in playing an instrument are at the … Read more

Probably by Bernardino Lanino (about 1512-1583)

Madonna and Child with Saint Mary Magdalene and a Bishop Possibly Turin, early 1540/43 Black chalk on paper 833 x 900 mm This is a cartoon, or full-scale preparatory drawing, for part of Lanino’s Madonna and Child Adored by Saints altarpiece in the National Gallery, London. This alatrpiece was executed in 1543 for the church … Read more

GIOVANNI BATTISTA PIRANESI (1720-1778)

The Villa d’Este, Tivoli Rome, 1773 Etching This engraving is from a series entitled Views of Rome. In this etching, Piranesi depicted the impressive gardens of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, originally built for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este (1509-1572).  The inclusion of tiny figures on the steps emphasises the scale of the grounds. The garden … Read more

MATTIA PRETI (1613 – 1699)

The Martyrdom of Saint Peter Naples, the late 1650s Oil on canvas 194.5 x 194.3 cm According to tradition, Saint Peter, Christ’s closest disciple and the first pope, chose to be crucified upside down to avoid comparison with his master.  Here, the two executioners, shown with brutal realism, heave the cross upwards.  One looks directly … Read more