Mar 7, 2013

Ut Pictura Poesis

Ut Pictura Poesis


Charles-François Hutin

(French, 1715-1776)

Gray wash, watercolor, graphite, black chalk, and red chalk on cream laid paper

Support: Cream(1) laid paper laid down on blued white laid paper

Sheet: 53.2 x 38 cm (20 15/16 x 14 15/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1998.76



Hutin’s drawing is an allegorical celebration of academic artistic training. The words UT PICTURA POESIS engraved on the stone tablet translate “as is painting, so is poetry.” Classical figures throughout the grand hall discuss their work as they practice different methods of making images. In the foreground, putti sculpt a portrait bust of Louis XV; behind them artists practice drawing a nude model. Among the sculptures in the room are the Farnese Hercules and the Venus de’ Medici, both famous Roman marbles in Italy, where Hutin trained from 1737 to 1742. In the upper right, Fame flies with trumpets above Minerva, the patron goddess of the arts, holding a paintbrush and palette as she drives out Ignorance and Envy.

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