Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts Ltd

Recto: A Horse and Rider; Verso: Studies of Two Heads

Italian School, 17th Century

Black chalk, watermark a Reindeer, the sheet cut in two and pasted together
335 x 175 mm. (13 x 6 in.)

Provenance :
William Batesson (1861-1926) (Frits Lugt 2604a).
Luigi Grassi (died circa 1937) (Frits Lugt 1171b) twice.
Dr Carl Robert Rudolf (born 1884) (Frits Lugt 2811b); Sothebys London, 19 May 1977 lot 91 (as Spanish School, 17th Century).
Private collection, England.

Italian School, 17th Century
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Italian School, 17th Century
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This lively double-sided drawing was sold as Spanish School at the important Rudolf sale in 1977, however recent scholars do not maintain an attribution to the Spanish School. Most scholars believe that this drawing is Italian. It is likely that the two heads were drawn first, then discarded by the artist. Due to a shortage of paper it seems likely that the artist then pasted the two sheets together and drew on the recto, this large and striking drawing of a seated horseman.
I have been unable to locate the watermark on this paper, however it comes close to some in Briquet [described as Cerf] numbers 3276-3339 are mainly 14th 16th Century watermarks. Number appears to be the closest to number 3322, which dates the paper to 1528, which seems unlikely in this instance.