The luxurious enhancement of this drawing, with pen and ink and opaque white watercolor on an embellished ground, suggests that it was made as an autonomous work rather than as a preparatory study for a painting. It was probably made to be given or sold to collectors.
The drawing depicts a profane subject: the encounter of a pair of lovers who sit beside a small fountain from which water flows into a streamlet. Their horse is tethered to the splintered trunk of a tree; in the distance, behind the dense wood, is a castle flanked by a craggy range of mountains.
Thaw Catalogue Raisonné, 2017, no. 1, repr.
Denison, Cara D. et al. The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and New Acquisitions. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1994, no. 6.
From Leonardo to Pollock: Master drawings from the Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 2006, cat. no. 54, p. 116-117.
100 Master drawings from the Morgan Library & Museum. München : Hirmer, 2008, no. 67, repr. [Cara Dafour Denison]