Two Studies of an Ancient Statue (recto); Scylla and a Centaur (verso)

Object Details


Two Studies of an Ancient Statue (recto); Scylla and a Centaur (verso)


Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 - 1665)




about 1645


Pen and brown ink, with some later red chalk framing lines


16.2 x 12.5 cm (6 3/8 x 4 15/16 in.)

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Nicolas Poussin never tired of studying antiquities, and his recordings of them make up a large proportion of his body of drawings. For this sketch, he probably copied two ancient statues, noting each variation in the arrangement of their drapery. Emphasizing the pattern of folds, he traced the heavier cloth of the mantle worn over the lighter, crinkly fabric of the short tunic.

The verso shows a section of a Roman table support currently in a museum in Naples. During Poussin's lifetime, the table stood in a Medici family villa in Rome. The left side shows Scylla, a woman who became a female monster with wild dogs baying around her waist. From her rock on the Italian side of the Straits of Messina, she barked like a dog and threatened sailors. A centaur, half horse and half man, supported the right half of the table.

July 9, 1968

Sotheby's (London), lot 49

Sir Anthony Frederick Blunt, British, 1907 - 1983, London

Art Market, Zurich

Art Market, Boston

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