Attributed to Pier Leone Ghezzi
Rome 1674 - 1755 Rome
Erminia seeking Shelter with a Shepherd

PROVENANCE: Alessandro Maggiori (Frits Lugt 3005b), with his inscription 'Aless: Maggiori acquisto in Roma/ nel 1809'. Carlo Argentieri (his mark, not in Frits Lugt).

Black and red chalk (recto), black chalk (verso)

251 x 392 mm. (9 x 15 in.)

The subject is taken from Torquato Tassos epic poem Gerusalemme Liberata, first published in 1581. An idealised account of the conquest of Jerusalem by the Christians in 1099, during the first Crusade: Erminia, the daughter of a Saracen king, loved the Christian knight Tancred and, believing him to be wounded went in search of him. She disguised herself as the female warrior Clorinda. Erminia came upon the shepherd sitting outside his hut playing a pipe. The shepherd extolled the joys of his peaceful existence, in contrast to the wars waging far away, and which Erminia, in her armour, seemed to typify. The subject was popular, indeed there was a painting by Filipo Lauri which the present drawing was possibly inspired by1.

An attributed to Pier Leone Ghezzi has been suggested for the present drawing by Dr Ursula Fisher Pace, in comparison to a drawing that has recently been on the market2. The heavy vibrant hatching is evident in both drawings. The subject if the present drawing and the technique are not normally associated with Ghezzi-usually a caricaturist in pen and ink.

The author is clearly from the Maratta school and Ghezzi is a plausible candidate for this vigorous and fresh drawing.

1.Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodin, Gallerie dellAccademia di Venezia, 1989, p.212, no. 35.

2.Sothebys London, 2nd July 1997, lot 85.