Edme Bouchardon

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Edme Bouchardon
Allegorical Figure
Red chalk on paper.
17 3/4 x 11 9/16 inches (450 x 295 mm)
Purchased on the Fellows Fund, as the special gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leonardo Mondadori.
According to Sotheby's, M. D'Angeville who in turn gave it to Wilhelmina Fitzclarence, Countess Münster (1830-1906); New York, Sotheby's, 14 January 1992, lot 77, repr. (subject identified as Dawn).

A winged female is depicted flying over the Earth indicated by the upper part of a globe. To the right is a section of the zodiac. A centaur with bow and arrow representing Sagittarius is visible in the sky in November and December, during the winter months. The winged figure holds a piece of cloth which a strong current of air whips around her body, supporting the interpretation of the subject as a cold wind or season. Bouchardon made a series of four drawings of winds, "The Four Winds", one of which, the "East Wind" was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1981 (see "Notable Acquisitions 1980-81", p. 49) and two more, the "South Wind" and "West Wind" are in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett (see Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, "Vom späten Mittelalter bis zu Jacques Louis David", Berlin 1973, pp. 97-98, nos. 169, 170). Bouchardon's design for the "North Wind" ("le vent du septentrio") was sold in March 2006, repr. in color ("Salon du Dessin 2006", Galerie Terradè, p. 63). At one time P. J. Mariette owned "The Four Winds" (see his sale, Paris 1775, no. 1117).
The composition, organized on two levels, is similar to those in two drawings for book illustrations at the Louvre (Guiffrey and Marcel, I, pp. 127-28, nos. 771, 777). One of them, "La Renommée" (Fame, no. 771) bears a close resemblance - though reversed - to the flying winged figure in the Library's drawing; especially the arm and hand holding the trumpet, is similar to those in the Library's sheet. The Louvre design was engraved by Simon François Ravenel l'Ancien (1706-1774) in 1742 and is an illustration in Francesco Geminiani's "Guida armonica" published in London (a French translation appeared in 1756). The year 1742 on Ravenel's engraving suggests an approximate date of 1740-50 for the Library's Bouchardon drawing which perhaps also was meant for a design for book illustration.

Associated names: 

Angeville, M. d', former owner.
Munster, Wilhelmina Fitzclarence, Countess of, 1830-1906, former owner.
Mondadori, Leonardo, donor.
Mondadori, Leonardo, Mrs., donor.

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