The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Friday, July 16, 2010

Auguste LeGras (1817 - 1887) Sleeping Cupid - Nude Putto

Caption: Sleeping cupid
Artist: Auguste LeGras (1817 - 1887)
Medium: Red chalk on laid paper (possibly a chalk manner etching)
Dated: Undated (bears the Atelier stamp of Ate.Legras)

Here are a few examples of Auguste LeGras' mature works:

Auguste LeGras (1817 - 1887) was born in Perigueux, France and was a pupil of Jean-Claude Bonneford (1796 - 1860) and Ary Scheffer (1795 - 1858). LeGras made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1847 and exhibited up to 1882. He was Ary Scheffer's assistant for some twenty years. He worked mainly on portraits and copies of Old Masters. This is a red chalk drawing on thick laid paper, most probably executed in the first half of the 19th Century. The subject matter, sleeping cupid, has a long history in art, especially well known is the Carravaggio Cupid of 1495. The iconographic image has been repeated many, many times over the years. In this particular case the putto or nude boy is holding a sickle which is symbolic of hope, hope for a fruitful harvest of things hoped for, i.e. love. I have seen other renditions of this same pose and same model which leaves me to believe that perhaps it is drawn from a sculpture or plaster cast. I'll have to do some more research and see what turns up. I will have to find my magnifying glass and determine if it is a drawing and not a chalk etching. Could be either. Anywho, it is a beautiful execution of a timeless subject matter.
Addendum: I found my magnifying loup and the more I look at this drawing the more I am convinced it is a rote chalk manner print. I have another chalk manner print from the late 18th century and the paper and drawing have the same feel and look as this drawing. I am going to take an educated guess now and say it is definitely a chalk manner print. The mystery lies in the atelier stamp on the back and the front of the drawing. The unanswered question is: Is the atelier stamp there to show it once belonged in the artist's collection or is it there to denote authorship of the print/drawing? Now I am really confused. Story of my life.

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