Nov 15, 2012

Study for Penelope

Study for Penelope

c. 1806

Black chalk heightened with white chalk, with stumping, squared in graphite

Support: Medium light brown laid paper

Sheet: 36.8 x 20.7 cm (14 1/2 x 8 1/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1996.286



This drawing depicts the figure of Penelope, featured in a painting by Lemonnier exhibited in the Salon of 1806, The Departure of Ulysses and Penelope for Ithaca (now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen). Essentially a drapery study of the high-waisted dress worn by the figure in the painting, it corresponds to the final work. The artist focused mostly on the play of light and shadow, varying the pressure of the chalk strokes and using a stump to smudge the chalk in order to produce a variety of tonal effects. The idealized face of the figure recalls classical sculpture and reflects the artist's academic training as well as the style of figural representation favored by the artists of Jacques-Louis David's generation.

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