Oct 28, 2008

Trissotin Reading to Philaminte, Bélise, and Armande (from act 3, scene 2 of Molière's "Les Femmes Savantes"

Trissotin Reading to Philaminte, Bélise, and Armande (from act 3, scene 2 of Molière's "Les Femmes Savantes"

probably c. 1725-1726

Charles Coypel

(French, 1694-1752)

Graphite, graphite wash, and red chalk

Support: Cream laid paper

Sheet: 21.7 x 30.6 cm (8 9/16 x 12 1/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.401



The son of Antoine Coypel (whose drawing is on view nearby), Charles Coypel was a playwright as well as an artist, so his understanding of the theater was profound. This is the only known drawing for the series of prints Coypel designed after scenes from famous works by the great playwright Molière (about 1622-1673). For the subject of this drawing, Coypel chose a famous scene from The Learned Ladies, in which the pompous tutor, Trissotin, reads his own work to his pretentious female admirers, Philaminte, Bélise, and Armande, all of whom have been duped by his pseudo-intellectualism. The overly enthusiastic gestures of these women contrast with the quiet dejection of Henrietta at the far right. The sensitive daughter of Philaminte, she is the only one not taken in by Trissotin's pretensions.

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