Testa, Pietro

, an Italian painter and engraver, was born at Lucca in 1611. It is thought that he began his studies in his native city, but he was impatient to see | Rome, where he became a disciple of Dominichino. He was so attached to the pursuit of his profession,that while he was copying the antiques at Rome he forgot to provide for his own subsistence. He was relieved from great wretchedness by the compassion of Sandrart, who recommended him effectually to prince Giustiniani, and other patrons. He was unfortunately drowned in the Tiber, at the age of thirty-nine, in 1650, endeavouring to recover hrts hat, which had been blown into the river.

The style of Pietro Testa as a designer, Mr. Fuseli pronounces unequal “he generally tacked to antique torsos ignoble heads and extremities copied from vulgar models. Of female beauty he seems to have been ignorant. Of his compositions, generally perplexed and crowded, the best known and most correct, is that of Achilles dragging Hector from the walls of Troy to the Grecian fleet. He delighted in allegoric subjects, which are mines of picturesque effects and attitudes, but in their meaning as obscure as the occasions to which they allude. Of expression he knew only the extremes, grimace, or loathsomeness and horror; but the charge of having been a bad colourist is founded on ignorance: his tone is genial, harmonious, and warm, as his pencil marrowy and free; supported by powerful masses of chiaroscuro and transparent shades.1