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Pen and brown ink
Watermarks: Shell or plume
Support: Ivory laid paper
Sheet: 22.8 x 35 cm (9 x 13 3/4 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1964.28
Catalogue raisonné: Bazin 2109 and 2110
Géricault died at a young age and had a professional career lasting only just over a decade.
The inscription at the upper left of the sheet states that Géricault executed these studies at the spring of the Magdelaine, near the forest of Fontainebleau, which he visited in 1819. The male figures closely resemble the earlier studies he made while in Italy of peasants during horse races at annual Roman carnivals. Here, men struggle to keep control of their unseen animals during the moments before the race. The verso female figures, visible though the paper, derive directly from Pompeiian paintings of bacchanals, or revelers participating in festivals honoring Bacchus, the god of wine.
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