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Ferdinand-Victor-Eug?ne Delacroix, 1798-1863

Studies for the Salon du Roi, Palais Bourbon, Paris.

Description:Read An Essay On This Drawing

When the Maryland Institute put the Lucas Collection on long-term loan at The Baltimore Museum of Art in 1933, museum staff catalogued this drawing as a study for Eugène Delacroix's last public commission, Heliodorus Driven from the Temple, in Saint-Sulpice (1849-53). In light of recent Delacroix scholarship, we now believe the work relates to a series of sketches for his first major public commission for the Salon du Roi in the Palais Bourbon (1833-38). Arlette Sérullaz listed the Baltimore sheet in her comprehensive examination of the decorative program undertaken during the room's restoration, but she did not have the opportunity to study the drawing at the time she prepared her text.1 When viewed with many of the known studies relating to the Palais Bourbon project, it is obvious that the Baltimore drawing belongs with them rather than with those of Saint-Sulpice.

The figure in the upper-left corner with her left arm outstretched and a sword in her right hand corresponds closely to the allegorical figure of Vengeance over the spandrel in the Justice frieze.2 The seated figure at the far left and the torso seen from behind at the bottom center may relate to figures in the Agriculture frieze.3 The sketch of a leg in the center of the upper register is very similar to one identified as a sketch for the section dedicated to War.4

The similarities between the Baltimore sheet and the other studies for the Salon du Roi are so striking that one wonders how such a misidentification could have occurred. The explanation may lie in the inscription cropped in the upper right, "les anges de Jean Duvet," which refers to a sixteenth-century artist's set of twenty-four engravings illustrating the Apocalypse. Interestingly, the figures on the sheet bearing the inscription do not correspond to any of Duvet's angels. Delacroix was apparently not copying them, but he was certainly inspired by them.

A similar notation, "Voir Jean Duvet pour les anges," appears on a compositional study (Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts) for the Heliodorus painting, which had been published by Agnes Mongan in 1940.5 By the time the Lucas Collection was transferred to The Baltimore Museum of Art, many of the drawings assembled for the exhibition mounted after the restoration of the Palais Bourbon were scattered in private collections or otherwise inaccessible. In the absence of any comparative material and in light of the similar inscriptions on this drawing and the one at Harvard, the original cataloguers may have linked the Baltimore sketch to the later commission at Saint-Sulpice. I am unaware of any other of Delacroix's works that refer to Jean Duvet, but it is interesting to note that Duvet's engravings had such a lasting impact-for at least twenty years-on the Romantic artist. Cheryl K. Snay

1. A. Sérullaz et al., Eugène Delacroix à l'Assemblée nationale (Paris, 1995), 175.

2. For an illustration of the completed mural, see ibid., 21, and for similar sketches, see cat. nos. 11 and 12. For an illustration of the painted sketch of Vengeance in

the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, see L. Johnson, The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: A Critical Catalogue, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1981-89), 5:10 and 6:pl. i.

3. Correspondence with Sérullaz 3 October 2001.

4. Sérrulaz et al. 1995, cat. no. 25.

5. For an illustration, see Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863): Paintings, Drawings, and Prints from North American Collections, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1991), 116, no. 49.

Medium: Pen and iron gall ink and graphite on beige, medium-weight, slightly textured wove paper
Dimensions: Sheet: 245 x 290 mm.
Date: 1833-1838
Category: figure
Subject: Paris
Inscriptions and Markings: RECTO: UR, ink, 'les anges de Jean Duvet'; LL, (red stamp), 'ED' (Lugt Suppl. 838a)
Exhibition History: The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'Watercolors and Drawings from the George A. Lucas Collection', July 24-Oct. 14, 1990. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'Sketches and Sketchbook Pages', April 25-June 25, 1978. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'The George A. Lucas Collection of the Maryland Institute', Oct. 12-Nov. 21, 1965, p. 66, no. 330. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'From Ingres to Gauguin: French Nineteenth-Century Paintings Owned in Maryland', Nov-Dec. 1951, p. 19, no. 25.
Bibliography: Cheryl Snay, "Acquiring Minds: The Early Patrons of Nineteenth-Century French Drawings in Baltimore," Master Drawings 42:1 (Spring 2004); ill. p. 71.
Provenance: BMA by purchase, 1996; The Maryland Institute, College of Art, 1911; Henry Walters (1848-1931), Baltimore, 1909; George A. Lucas (1824-1909), Paris.
Collection: The Baltimore Museum of Art
Credit Line: The Baltimore Museum of Art: The George A. Lucas Collection, purchased with funds from the State of Maryland, Laurence and Stella Bendann Fund, and contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations throughout the Baltimore community
Object Number: BMA 1996.48.18681