Watercolor and gouache
Support: Beige wove paper
Sheet: 24.6 x 17.9 cm (9 11/16 x 7 1/16 in.)
Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.344
With the subject of Carcasses, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps was following an old artistic tradition. He was inspired by Rembrandt's (1606-1669) Slaughtered Ox (see photo) which he would have seen at the Louvre Museum. Decamps greatly admired the Dutch master and owned several paintings by him. In spite of the inspiration from Rembrandt, Decamps's watercolor of about 200 years later conveys a different mood. Instead of focusing on a single butchered corpse as Rembrandt had, Decamps viewed his bodies and slabs of meat from further back, and he included domestic objects and a background figure standing at a table. Decamps's resulting image stands less as a symbol of death and more as a matter-of-fact representation of daily life.
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