Antoine Denis Chaudet

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Antoine Denis Chaudet
A Nude Beating an Ass
Pen and black ink, brown wash, over black chalk, heightened 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 26-27, of Lucius Apuleius's "The Golden Ass," in which Lucius has just been transformed into an ass and has gone to the stable to spend his first night. There he joins his own horse as well as the donkey of his host, Milo. Having been told that by consuming rose petals he will be returned to his human form, Lucius stands on his hind legs and attempts to reach the rose garlands draped around the shrine of Epona, patron goddess of donkeys and horses. He is discovered in this position by the stable boy, who believes Lucius is attacking the sacred statue and disciplines him by beating him with a wooden branch.
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. 2000.7). Chaudet completed at least ten illustration designs 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.


Inscribed on verso in graphite at upper left, "124" (circled).
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.