The Garden of Venus who reclines in the centre before a term of Pan and surrounded by cupids
Pietro Testa (Italian, Lucca 1612–1650 Rome)
Image: 13 1/2 x 16 5/16 in. (34.3 x 41.5 cm)
Sheet: 13 3/4 x 16 11/16 in. (35 x 42.4 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1926
Not on view
It was especially for his skill as a draftsman and printmaker that the rather tragic figure of Pietro Testa became known. Before his early death at the age of thirty-eight, he spent most of his career in Rome, where he worked in the studios of Domenichino (1581-1641) and Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669) and associated with artists and scholars who, like him, were especially interested in the Classical tradition. In the Garden of Venus, Testa drew inspiration from the paintings of Nicolas Poussin and Titian's Worship of Venus (1518-19; Museo del Prado, Madrid), populated by an equally large throng of amorini and itself based on a description of an ancient painting in the Imagines by the Greek writer Philostratus the Elder (born ca. a.d. 190). Testa's etchings were admired as much for their skillful technique as their brilliant invention. In this impressive print, remarkable effects of space, texture, and shimmering light are achieved through rapid, energetic lines and the use of selective plate tone and multiple biting.
Inscription: Testa's intertwined monogram 'PT' at lower right.
John Edward Rudge (British, 1792–1861); Vendor: E. Parsons & Sons (London)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 11, 2010–April 11, 2010.