Attributed to Lorenzo Sabatini

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Attributed to Lorenzo Sabatini
(Bologna ca. 1530–1576 Rome)

A King as Builder of a City, 1565–80

Pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white gouache, over traces of red chalk, on blue paper; upper corners made up
1 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches (349 x 209 mm)

Purchased as the Gift of the Fellows, 1959

Item description: 

The artist of this luminous study remains unknown, although both Lorenzo Sabatini and Orazio Samacchini (1532–1577), who had come to Rome in 1573 and 1563, respectively, to work on the decoration of the Sala Regia in the Vatican Palace, have been plausibly suggested.

Presumably this work is from a series representing great builders of antiquity. A king stands as if on a threshold before a backdrop of a church at left and a construction site—possibly a tower—at right. He may represent King Nimrod, founder of Babylon, whose followers, according to the Old Testament, constructed the Tower of Babel.