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An image of The sacrifice of Isaac by Pietro Testa

Pietro Testa

(Italy 1612 – 1650)

The sacrifice of Isaac
Other titles:
Abraham's sacrifice
Media category
Materials used
only state

29.7 x 23.7 cm trimmed outside border line

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1980
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

As told in Genesis, God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac as proof of his obedience. The story was interpreted as prophetic of the sacrifice of Christ. Testa depicts the moment when an angel appears and stays Abraham's arm. Another angel brings the sacrificial ram, to be substituted for Isaac. The themes of Testa's prints are often austere ones of virtue and heroic suffering. His own life was filled with unhappiness, and he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Tiber when he was thirty-eight.

Bibliography (3)

Nicolas Draffin, Piety and Paganism, 'Introduction', pg. 3-5, Sydney, 1991, 4, 9 (illus.), 10. no catalogue numbers

Nicolas Draffin, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Prints and Drawings - Australia, European and American', pg. 47-66, Sydney, 1981, 60 (illus.). 27

Peter Raissis, Mantegna to Piranesi - Italian old master prints from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1998, 8. no catalogue numbers

Exhibition history (4)

Three years on: acquisitions 1978-81, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Oct 1981–01 Dec 1981

Piety and Paganism, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Jul 1991–29 Sep 1991

Mantegna to Piranesi - Italian Old Master Prints from the Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jun 1998–20 Sep 1998

Old Europe: Prints & drawings from the collection 1500-1800, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jun 2006–06 Aug 2006