French School

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French School
17th century
An Architectural Sculpture Court
Pen and brown ink and wash, on paper.
9 3/8 x 13 1/8 inches (238 x 334 mm)
Gift of Mrs. Donald M. Oenslager, 1982.
Alister Mathews (1907-1985), Bournemouth; acquired in 1962 by Donald M. Oenslager (1902-1975), New York; by descent to his wife, Mary P. Oenslager (1897-1995), New York.

This design for an architectural fantasy or stage set takes as its focus a fountain with Hercules and his nephew (and chariot-driver) Iolaus wrestling the water-serpent, Hydra. At left and right are equestrian groups on pedestals. The fountain is set in a courtyard before a palace with a double staircase. At left is a round temple and a rusticated pavilion, while at right is a crenellated structure, a building with two towers flanking an arch and balcony, and a Cornithian column surmounted by a putto with a wreath. The scene has not been connected to any performance or project, and some scholars, including Jerome de la Gorce, have expressed doubts that it is by a French artist.

Associated names: 

Mathews, Alister, former owner.
Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975, former owner.

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