Domenico Piola remains one of the most prolific Genoese draughtsmen of the 17th century, despite the fact that many of his drawings were destroyed in a fire in his studio caused by the naval bombardment of the city in 1684. (As such, it may be assumed that much of the artist’s surviving drawings should be dated to the last two decades of his career.) Piola’s facility as a draughtsman was aptly described by his biographer Ratti, who notes that the artist ‘used to spend the whole evening drawing at the small table, setting down ideas on paper in pen with light shading in bistre...the facility of this method of drawing came no less easily to him than that of painting. Hence he made so many drawings that besides the largest number destroyed by a fire in his house and apart from those in the possession of foreigners and other painters in the city, his heirs preserved more than four thousand of them. And the wonder is that in such a copious number, one never encounters in any one example an invention similar to others already executed by him.’ With its spirited use of pen and wash, this drawing is one of the finest extant examples of Piola’s fluent draughtsmanship. Although squared for transfer, it remains unrelated to any known painting or fresco by the artist. A large and finished drawing by Piola of a related subject of A Bacchanal with the Drunken Silenus on an Ass was on the art market in London in 1971.