- Museum number
A priest kneeling before a seated Pope.
Brush drawing in brown wash, over red chalk, heightened with white (partly oxidised), on red prepared paper.
Verso: An angel pointing at the body of the dead Christ.
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 244 millimetres
Width: 184 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Watermark: a cross above an encircled device.
Lit: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 259
Because of the oxidised white heightening, the recto conveys a poor first impression, and Bean dismissed the drawing as a copy of another, freer version in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv.no. 1981.23; Bean, 1982, p. 317, App. 16), from which, however, it differs in several respects. A third rendering is recorded in Philip Pouncey's pencil note, dated 22 April 1949, on the reverse of the backing of the British Museum drawing: "Another version of the recto, apparently also eigenhändig, brown wash with white heightening and enclosed in a thin feigned frame, was brought in [i.e. to the British Museum] by Mr R P Treherne." All three versions appear to relate to a fourth, highly finished and detailed drawing in red chalk in the Art Institute of Chicago, there tentatively attributed to Andrea Sacchi on the basis of an old inscription in the bottom left corner of the sheet (inv.no. 1922.5485). It shows the kneeling supplicant presenting the pope with a book; a lightly drawn coat of arms, which might be read as that of Urban VIII, is included in the decoration of the wall behind the papal throne. Though summary in treatment, the British Museum drawing is surely not a copy: see the modification to the position of the canopy over the throne, which is indicated slightly lower and to the right in the red chalk underdrawing.
Any doubt as to the authenticity of the sheet must surely be allayed by the verso study which is typical of the artist's pen drawings. This study may have been drawn in connection with one of two compositions of the 'Holy Trinity', one an altarpiece painted for Pope Clement XI Albani, for the papal chapel in the Palazzo Quirinale, and the other a processional banner commissioned by the Confraternità della Santissima Trinità, Rome (Graf, 1993, p.443 and figs 7 and 8).
Literature: Bean, 1982, under App. 16 (as copy after Pietro dei Pietri)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number