A Scene from Ancient History, early 1590s
Inscribed on old mount, at lower center, in pen and brown ink, Camillo Procaccini.
Joseph F. McCrindle collection, Morgan Library & Museum, 2009
The subject of the drawing remains a puzzle: two children, observed by an elegant woman, appear before a seated ruler. They peer into an object, possibly a helmet, while a man at right studies a slip of paper. Are these two child martyrs selecting a name by taking an inscribed piece of paper out of a helmet? This drawing is executed in the artist's typical free handling, in which his favored violet wash wraps the subject in veils of color.