The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 18, 2018

Paris and Oenone, 1791

gray ink wash with pale black-gray ink line with graphite and brown ink, Sheet: 30.3 x 48.8 cm (11 7/8 x 19 3/16 in.); Secondary Support: 35.1 x 53.6 cm (13 13/16 x 21 1/16 in.). Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2008.35

Although he identified himself first and foremost as a sculptor, Flaxman’s greatest fame and most lasting influence rest with his drawings. Engravings made after his spare designs illustrating classical epics by Homer, Dante, and Hesiod became the most celebrated work in his oeuvre and spread his stylized linearity widely. This highly finished, signed and dated drawing was made while Flaxman was in Rome and needed to supplement his income while trying to obtain commissions for sculpture. Flaxman chose an obscure classical subject: the famous Trojan shepherd, Paris, with his first love, the nymph Oenone. The scene takes place on Mount Ida, in an idyllic time of peace before Paris was called upon to judge the beauty of the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, thus instigating the Trojan War.

lower left in black ink: "Flaxman, Roma/1791"

Lemonedes, Heather. British Drawings: The Cleveland Museum of Art. Published on the occasion of the exhibition "British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art" shown 10 Feb to 26 May 2013 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. London: D Giles Limited, 2013. Pg 6; pg 46-7, cat 12.

The Cleveland Museum of Art (02/10/2013 - 05/26/2013); "British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art"

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Library materials about Flaxman (19)

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