Given his lifelong interest in classical antiquity, Nicholas Poussin repeatedly sketched the antique objects he saw in Rome. Except for the Etruscan mirror in the top right, which dates from the 200s A.D., each object on this sheet is Roman, from various ancient eras.
The careful study of the hexagonal tripod base, with its spare lines and precise details, hints at Poussin's adherence to the ancient classical conventions of architectural perspective. He executed the draped torso and the sandaled foot with a similarly spare technique and attention to structure. He might have sketched the mirror from life, as it may have been in a Roman nobleman's collection, and he probably sketched the tripod in the upper left corner after a drawing in another collector's "Paper Museum." Finally, hen sketched the figure of the young boy after a late Roman bust now in an English country house, capturing his bulla, a protective amulet worn by Roman children, with just a few tight lines and light brushes of wash.
The verso presents more disparate objects: two sphinxes, a woman carrying a vase, and an elaborate ornamental Roman ceiling frieze.