Pietro Testa

Pietro Testa - painting of a crowned woman's face
Year of birth: 
Year of death: 

Painter and carver, he was born in Lucca in 1612 and he established himself before 1630 at the school of the Domenichino in Rome.
In 1631 he moved to the school of Pietro da Cortona, assiduously frequenting the antique dealer Cassiano dal Pozzo and making five books of drawings of roman antiques for him.
Protected by the cardinal Gerolamo Buonvisi, he studied at the San Luca Academy.
He was friend with Pussin and Mola; his painting had classical and baroque leanings and it seems he couldn't satisfy the more demanding commissions. Because of that, from 1635 on he dedicated himself on etching, obtaining more fame.
Melancholy and irascible man, he died in the Tevere's waters, maybe suicidal, in 1650.
The painting “Libertà Lucchese” was made on the door of San Romano in Cortile degli Svizzeri during one of his stays in Lucca in 1632 or 1637.
It seems that the work didn't excite the commission, maybe because of the technique used which he didn't know very well.
Georg Christoph Martini, in the first half of the XVIII century, admired the painting with these words: <<On top of the entrance there is an allegory made by the painter Pietro Testa, second to none for his creativity. He wanted to represent how the Prince or the reigning of the Republic never dies because before he decayed from the role, or he died, a successor was there already.
So he represented the Republic in the form of a sitting woman, who had the time chained at his feet. She held the ancient trophies as symbol of power, and there are two lions (panthers) squatted down holding the Republic emblem.>>
The fresco, already damaged at the start of the XX century, was almost completely destroyed and the last pieces were detached and restored in 1976.