Charles Mellin

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Charles Mellin
approximately 1597-1649
Sketch after Sarcophagus Relief with the Body of Meleager Borne in Procession
ca. 1640-45
Pen and brown ink and wash over black chalk.
5 3/4 x 16 1/2 inches (147 x 418 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
III, 73

Inscribed in pen and brown ink at upper right, "13".
Watermark: Quadruped in circle (fragment); Shield.

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.

Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, III, 73.
Rosenberg, Pierre and Louis-Antoine Prat, "Nicolas Poussin, 1594-1665. Catalogue raisonné des dessins", 2 volumes, Milan, 1994, II, no. R662, repr.
Malgouyres, Philippe, Charles Mellin, un lorrain entre Rome et Naples, D96, and p. 224.


Among Poussin and his contemporaries, it was common practice when in Italy to copy after antiquities, especially narrative scenes on ancient sarcophagi. Mellin produced this copy after a fragment of a second century sarcophagus which in 1644-50 was set into the facade of the Casino del Belrespiro in the Villa Doria Pamphili, Rome. The damaged relief was restored sometime after it was mounted, while Mellin's drawing depicts the unrestored object. The relief depicts Meleager slaying one of his uncles at left, and the return of Meleager's body to Calydon at right. Philippe Malgouyres identifies a similar sheet, also long considered by Poussin and now accepted as Mellin, in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (NM 1571/1875).

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Associated names: 

Poussin, Nicolas, 1594?-1665, Formerly attributed to.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.

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