Antoine Denis Chaudet

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Antoine Denis Chaudet
The Transformation
Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk, with white, on paper; ruled border in pen and brown ink.
6 7/8 x 5 inches (175 x 127 mm)
Gift of John M. Thayer in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Morgan Library and the 50th anniversary of the Association of Fellows.

The sheet depicts a scene from Book III, chapters 24-25, of Lucius Apuleius's "The Golden Ass," in which Lucius, with the help of the servant girl Fotis (or Photis), has stripped off his clothing and rubbed magical ointment all over his body, in the hopes of being transformed into a bird. To their dismay, Fotis and Lucius find that he is instead being transformed into an ass, Fotis having stolen the wrong ointment from her mistress, the enchantress Pamphile.
This drawing was engraved and published in 1795. There is another illustration by Chaudet based on Apuleius's tale in the collection of the Library (inv. 2000.8). Chaudet completed at least ten illustration sketches of similar size and technique for "The Golden Ass," around 1795, when he branched out into designing book illustrations after primarily working as a sculptor.


Watermark: none.

Colonel Lagrenée, Paris; Baskett & Day, London; Shepherd Galleries, New York, 1984; Charles Ryskamp, (1928-2010), Princeton, NJ; Michael Currier, New York; sale, Christie's, New York, 9 January 1991, lot 77; John M. Thayer (1820-1906), Wilmington, DE.
Associated names: 

Lagrenée, Colonel, former owner.
Ryskamp, Charles, former owner.
Currier, Michael, former owner.
Thayer, John M. (John MacLane), 1944-2004, former owner.
Apuleius. Metamorphoses.