Lot n° 85
3000 - 4000 EUR
Result with fees
DIJON, 1797 - PARIS, 1867
Preparatory study for Arianna in Naxos
Oil on canvas mounted on a cardboard panel 16 x 21.5 cm
Preparatory study for Arianna in Nasso Oil on canvas mounted on a cardboard panel 6.3 x 8.5 in.
Preparatory sketch for a large composition by Sophie Rude now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon (fig. 1), the pupil of Jacques-Louis David (1748 -1825) was inspired by a lost sketch by his master on the same theme. "Ariadne, my sister, of what wounded love/ You died at the edges where you were left!" writes Racine in Phèdre. Thus Ariadne, daughter of Minos, is represented on the island of Naxos, the island where Theseus left her. Sad destiny for the one who, in exchange for a promise of marriage, had helped the hero out of the labyrinth of Daedalus. Abandoned, Homer recounts that she is finally killed by Artemis on the orders of a Dionysus who is jealous of his adventure with Theseus.
It is thus the moment preceding her tragic end that our artist chooses to represent, the heroine's gaze carried far away, her arm outstretched towards her beloved who has left her. After her beautiful Anthia, Sophie Rude returns to a mythological theme and thus establishes herself as a history painter. Although women were only recognised as artists worthy of consecration at a late stage (it was not until 1911 that a woman won the Prix de Rome), our artist was able, thanks to her teacher, who was keen to teach young female painters, to develop a skilful brush and to follow in the footsteps of the great neo-classical master.
Let us praise the daring representation of the female nude, certainly studied from the living model, but let us nevertheless note the underlying limit of this composition. Because of her status as a woman, Sophie would never have been allowed to exhibit on official picture rails a painting involving the study of a naked man's body from nature. The very principle of teaching art to women had forced David in the early 1800s to close a first workshop fo
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