Nov 14, 2012

St. John the Evangelist

St. John the Evangelist

c. 1700–1702

Charles de La Fosse

(French, 1636–1716)

Black, red, and white chalk

Support: Beige(1) laid paper

Sheet: 42 x 26.2 cm (16 9/16 x 10 5/16 in.)

Gift of Alida di Nardo in memory of her husband, Antonio di Nardo 1956.602

Catalogue raisonné: Gustin-Gomez D.24


Did you know?

This drawing was used primarily used by La Fosse to study the drapery that covers St. John's body. A nude drawing of the same figure is in Le Havre, France.


This drawing is a study for a fresco in the Parisian church of Les Invalides. The structure's four pendentives are each decorated with images of the Four Evangelists, and the Cleveland sheet relates to the design for St. John. La Fosse developed his ideas in numerous preparatory studies before beginning the final painting. He portrayed the religious figures with power and exuberance, imbuing his decorative scheme with unprecedented vigor. Drawings by La Fosse are difficult to find in the United States, and this sheet is an exceptional example of the artist's trois crayons (three-chalk) technique of using black, red, and white chalk together. The chalks are subtly blended, creating the effect of billowing drapery rather than stiff linearity.

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