Nicolas Poussin

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Nicolas Poussin
Death of Hippolytus. Verso: Asclepius Restoring Hippolytus to Life
Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk on laid paper; verso: pen and brown ink over black chalk.
8 7/8 x 13 1/16 inches (224 x 332 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
I, 267

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Watermark: none.
Unjustly accused of raping his stepmother, Phedra, and cursed by his father, Theseus, Hippolytus fled the wrath of Poseidon, and in his haste was thrown from his chariot and dragged to his death. In this turbulent and freely washed depiction, the horses rear up at the sight of a wild bull as Hippolytus's friends try to regain control of the horses and rescue the hero's body. The dynamic composition, with its strong diagonal movement and its shift of action to the extreme foreground, represents Poussin at his most baroque. The drawing seems, however, to be a singular investigation of the subject that did not lead to a painting. -- Exhibition Label, From "Poussin, Claude, and French Drawing in the Classical Age"


Inscribed on verso in graphite along lower edge, "N. Poussin Collection of Cav. Cavacepi/V. Camuccini. W. Y. Otley".

Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (1717-1799), Rome (according to Ottley's inscription on the verso); Vincenzo Camuccini (1771-1844), Rome (according to Ottley's inscription on the verso); William Young Ottley (1771-1836), London (no mark; see Lugt 2642, 2662-2665); his sale, London, T. Philipe, 6-23 June 1814, lot 1744; Thomas Dimsdale (1758-1823), London (Lugt 2426); Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), London (Lugt 2445); Robert Staynord Holford (1808-1892), London (Lugt 2243); his sale, London, Christie's, 11-14 July 1893, under lot 663 or 664; Sir John Charles Robinson (1824-1913), London (Lugt 1433); Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.
Associated names: 

Cavaceppi, Bartolomeo, 1717-1799, former owner.
Camuccini, Vincenzo, 1771-1844, former owner.
Ottley, William Young, 1771-1836, former owner.
Dimsdale, Thomas, 1758-1823, former owner.
Lawrence, Thomas, Sir, 1769-1830, former owner.
Holford, Robert Stayner, 1808-1892, former owner.
Robinson, J. C. (John Charles), Sir, 1824-1913
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.


Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, I, 267.
New York World's Fair : Illustrated Catalogue of an Exhibition Held on the Occasion of The New York World's Fair. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1939, no. 91.
Treasures from the Pierpont Morgan Library : Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1957, no. 91, repr.
Denison, Cara D., and Helen B. Mules, with the assistance of Jane V. Shoaf. European Drawings, 1375-1825. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981, no. 50, repr. (recto and verso)
Denison, Cara D. French Drawings, 1550-1825. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984, no. 14, repr.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twentieth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981-1983. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984, p. 220.
Denison, Cara D. French Master Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1993, no. 16, recto in color, verso repr.
In August Company : The Collections of the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1993, no. 17, pp. 290-91, repr. in color.
Rosenberg, Pierre and Louis-Antoine Prat, "Nicolas Poussin, 1594-1665. Catalogue raisonné des dessins", 2 volumes, Milan, 1994, I, no. 323, recto in color, verso, repr.
The Morgan Library : An American Masterpiece. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 2000, p. 59, repr. in color.
From Leonardo to Pollock: Master drawings from the Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 2006, cat. no. 70, p. 148-149.
100 Master drawings from the Morgan Library & Museum. München : Hirmer, 2008, no. 71, repr. [Jennifer Tonkovich]

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