Title: Study of a male model, kneeling
Red chalk on paper
Dimensions: Image: 21 1/8 x 16 inches (53.7 x 40.6 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Quinto Maganini
As scholarly academies for the training of painters and sculptors began to multiply in Europe from the late sixteenth century onward, this practice of drawing so-called “academies” from male models was codified as a third stage after students first learned to draw from engravings and then from plaster casts after ancient sculpture. Students drew first in red chalk on white paper, as here, laboriously covering the sheet with red. Next, they “graduated” to black and white chalk on darker paper as they gained mastery. The artist here draws everything he sees, including the form on which the model rests, complete with a cushion and staff for comfort during a long pose.
Bouchardon was a prolific draftsman and sculptor who served the French King Louis XV. While this accomplished drawing is highly reminiscent of his style, the regimented nature of academy poses means that they are difficult to attribute with certainty. However, the paper was made in Rome, and an unfinished sketch of the famous Laocoön sculpture in the Vatican collection on the back of the sheet indicates that this draftsman was probably a French artist working in Rome—learning simultaneously from ancient sculpture and the live model. (“Undressed: The Nude in Context, 1500-1750,” text by Andrew C. Weislogel and presented at the Johnson Museum February 9-June 16, 2019)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.