Studies of Antiquities (recto); Studies of Antiquities (verso)

Object Details


Studies of Antiquities (recto); Studies of Antiquities (verso)


Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 - 1665)




about 1645


Pen and brown ink and brown wash (recto); Pen and brown ink, later red chalk framing lines (verso)


26.8 x 19.7 cm (10 9/16 x 7 3/4 in.)

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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.


Count Moriz von Fries

Marquis de Lagoy

Sir Thomas Lawrence, British, 1769 - 1830 (London)

Aimé-Charles-Horace His de La Salle

November 27, 1880

Christie's (London), part of lot 18

Sir Edward John Poynter, English, born France, 1836 - 1919

Art Market (London)

Clarke Collection

Art Market (London)

Sir Anthony Frederick Blunt, British, 1907 - 1983

Art Market (Zürich, Switzerland)

Art Market (Boston)

Exhibition Architectural and Decorative Drawings (February 1941) (28; recto)
  • Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, (London), February to February, 1941
Exposition Nicolas Poussin (May to July 1960) (186; recto; catalogue by A. Blunt)
  • Musée du Louvre, (Paris), May to July, 1960
The Sir Anthony Blunt Collection (1964) (58; recto)
  • Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, (London), 1964
Reflections on the Etruscan Mirror (October to November 1982) (1; recto)
  • Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee, October to November, 1982
Peter Paul Rubens's Self Portrait (August 13 to October 30, 1988) (recto)
  • National Gallery of Australia, (Canberra), August 13 to October 30, 1988
Classicism and Neoclassicism in French Drawing, 1600-1860 (October 25, 1994 to January 8, 1995) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 25, 1994 to January 8, 1995
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999