Study for the soldier to the far left in The rape of the Sabine women, a ceiling fresco from around 1565 in the Villa Cattaneo-Imperiale, Genoa (Fig. 1; see J. Bober, Luca Cambiaso: 1527-1585, exhib. cat., Austin, Blanton Museum of Art and Genoa, Palazzo Ducale, 2007, no. 49). According to Jonathan Bober the 'frescoes in the Villa Cattaneo-Imperiale represent Cambiaso's greatest achievement in secular decoration' (op. cit., p. 310). An elaborate and complete study for the fresco, showing almost the entire final composition though with some differences, is in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh (Inv. 630; J. Bober, op. cit., no. 49b). That study, however, omits the soldier shown in the present drawing and it may be for that reason that Cambiaso made a separate study of it. Another study, which Bober considers to be an early idea for the fresco, is in the British Museum, London (Inv. 1946-7-13-288; J. Bober, op. cit., no. 49a).
The attribution to Luca Cambiaso has been confirmed by Dr. Mary Newcome-Schleier and Jonathan Bober on the basis of a digital photograph.
Fig.1. Luca Cambiaso, Rape of the Sabines, (detail), Genoa, Villa Cattaneo-Imperiale.