Annibale Carracci

Annibale Carracci
(Italian, 1560–1609)
Study of a Tree, ca. 1600
Pen and brown ink, over black chalk
Private collection

In 1724, before he was able to acquire the sheet himself, Mariette made a copy of this drawing. At the auction of his collection, the copy and the original were offered for sale together. The catalogue explains that the copy, now in the Louvre, had been made by Mariette to deceive (faite à tromper). In Mariette’s erudite circle, the practice of copying drawings by old masters was considered a form of education. By trying to emulate the style of the artists of the past, amateur draftsmen and collectors could not only improve their drawing skills but also sharpen their ability to recognize different artists’ hands.