Holy Family with Saint Anne (recto); Figure Sketches (verso)

Object Details


Holy Family with Saint Anne (recto); Figure Sketches (verso)


Pietro Testa (Italian, 1612 - 1650)




Italy (Place created)


1645 to 1650


Pen and brown ink, brown wash, and black chalk (recto); faint black and red chalk (verso)


37.3 × 25.2 cm (14 11/16 × 9 15/16 in.)

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The Virgin Mary sits on a cushioned throne, watching her mother Saint Anne lovingly clutching the baby Jesus. On the right, Saint Joseph peers eagerly over her shoulder. A cluster of putti hovers overhead, carrying a large piece of fabric to shelter the Holy Family from behind.

Pietro Testa produced two other compositional studies of this scene, probably in preparation for an altarpiece. Since this study lacks detail in the background and is the least finished of the three, it must be the earliest. The final drawing of the group is rounded at the top, implying a curved frame, but no final painting is known today.

Testa (November 5, 1988 to March 19, 1989) (recto)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia), November 5 to December 31, 1988
  • Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge), January 21 to March 19, 1989
16th and 17th Century Italian Drawings (December 15, 1992 to February 28, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), December 15, 1992 to February 28, 1993
Figural Compositional Drawings from the 16th to the 19th Century (August 31 to December 8, 1996) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), August 31 to December 8, 1996