Le Misanthrope, Act II, scene IV, ca. 1750–55
Signed in pen and black ink at lower right, Pierre; inscribed in pen and black ink along lower margin, non morbleu, cest a vous; et vos ris complaisans LE MISANTROPE. tirent deson esprit tous ces trais medisans.
Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, over black chalk, heightened with white gouache, on blue paper
8 3/4 x 11 inches (220 x 280 mm)
Purchased as the gift of Joan Taub Ades and on the Lois and Walter C. Baker Fund
This highly finished drawing illustrates a scene from one of Molière's most famous comedies, Le Misanthrope, a play set in the fashionable milieu of seventeenth-century Paris. Alceste, the title character, is disgusted by the hypocrisy, injustice, and overall corruption of human society. Nonetheless, he is in love with Célimène, a young, flirtatious widow who is a prime example of the insincerity that Alceste despises. The drawing is one of three known drawings by Pierre after Molière's works.