- Pietro Testa
- Also known as
primary name: Testa, Pietro
- individual; painter/draughtsman; printmaker; Roman; Italian; Male
- Life dates
- Painter, draughtsman and etcher, b. Lucca 1612, d. Rome 1650.
He was chiefly active in Rome, where he arrived probably in 1628 and where he is recorded by Passeri (ed. Hess, 1934, p. 189), firstly in the studio of Domenichino (q.v.) and then in that of Pietro da Cortona (q.v.), whose influence on his style of drawing was fundamental. Worked for Marchese Giustiniani. Testa's interest in antiquity developed under the patronage of Cassiano dal Pozzo, for whose Paper Museum he contributed several hundred copies of antique remains, mostly in pen and brown wash, many examples of which are in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. It was probably while working for dal Pozzo that he came into contact with Poussin (1594-1665), whose learned approach to painting much influenced him. Unable to achieve in Rome the success he felt was his due, Testa went back to Lucca in 1632, and again in 1637, in search of local patronage, turning increasingly to printmaking as his principal means of expression.
Following Testa's return to Rome in c. 1638, he was awarded a number of public commissions for paintings, including the 'Presentation of the Virgin' of c. 1642, for the Buonvisi Chapel, S. Croce e S. Bonaventura dei Lucchesi, Rome (now Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg); and the 'Vision of Sant'Angelo Carmelitano' of 1646, S. Martino ai Monti, Rome. He found himself increasingly isolated, however, and his despondency became more acute as his painted commissions failed to receive full public recognition. He drowned in the Tiber - almost certainly by suicide - in 1650.
- Bartsch XX pp.213-29 (39 nos)
Elisabeth Cropper, 'PT prints and drawings', Philadelphia 1988 (numbering integrated with drawings)