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Work Study of a kneeling semi-nude male raising his right hand

Department of Prints and Drawings: 17th century

Homme agenouillé tourné vers la gauche

Prints and Drawings
17th century

Author(s):
Chabod Christine

This work is typical of Vouet's oeuvre in the 1630s, a period characterized by artistic harmony and maturity. The artist defines the figure in the smallest details thanks to his study of Italian models. The power and generous forms of the figure, the curve of the muscles, and the broadness of the hands are all characteristic of Vouet's style at the time.

A saintly life

The man is shown kneeling, seen from the side. His torso is twisted to the left. His body is enveloped by a very loose drapery, which reveals his powerful musculature. His right arm is raised as if in blessing. This study on a squared plan is a preparatory drawing for the figure of one of the sons of St. Eustace in a painting of the apotheosis of the saint and his family, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes. The painting depicts the glorification of St. Eustace, a Roman soldier who became a convert to Christianity and whose family was martyred alongside him. Simon Vouet was commissioned to paint the work in 1634-35 by Claude de Bullion, superintendent of Finances (died 1640). It was painted along with Martyrdom of St. Eustace for the high altar in the church of St. Eustace in Paris.

Italian inspiration

In this drawing, Vouet achieves a balanced style that demonstrates that he had absorbed the lessons of the contemporary Italian masters. The monumental power of the figure and its gesture are worthy of Annibale Carracci, while the plenitude of the forms bathed in soft light and the mastery of the viewpoint from such a low position are characteristic of Giovanni Lanfranco. Vouet was able to study Lanfranco's style and technique during his time in Rome, from 1624 to 1627. The work as a whole reminds the viewer of the skill of the great Italian decorators.

Bibliography

Brejon de Lavergnée Barbara, Dessin français du XVIIe siècle. LXXXIIIe exposition du Cabinet des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1984-1985, notice 27.
Brejon de Lavergnée Barbara, Simon Vouet, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1990-1991, notice 101.
Brejon de Lavergnée Barbara, Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins. Inventaire général des dessins, école française. Dessins de Simon Vouet, 1590-1649, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1987, notice 75.
Rencontre de l'École du Louvre. Colloque Simon Vouet, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1991.
Dessins français du XVIIe siècle. Artistes contemporains de Poussin. XXVe exposition du Cabinet des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1960.

Technical description

  • Simon Vouet (1590-1649)

    Study of a kneeling semi-nude male raising his right hand

    1635

  • Black chalk with white highlights on beige paper, squared with black chalk

    H. 35.1 cm; L. 24 cm

  • Formerly in the Crown collection

    3933312

  • Prints and Drawings

    Due to their fragility, works on paper are not on permanent display in the museum.

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