Charles Nicolas Cochin

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Charles Nicolas Cochin
Armida Changes the Knights She Has Seduced Into Fishes
Black chalk on gray paper; squared in black chalk for transfer.
Full sheet: 3 3/4 x 6 inches (95 x 153 mm); design area: 2 1/4 x 4 9/16 inches (58 x 116 mm)
Inscribed in pen and brown ink by the artist, "Canto; Legge la maga ed io pensiero e voglia/Sento mutar, mutar vita ed albergo;/ strana virtù! Nuovo piacer m'invoglia./Salto nell'acqua, e mi tuffo e immergo; au 1er Dessin eclairé du milieu par des lampes; ainsi dans la 2e, a volonté". Collector's mark of the Comte Nicholas A. Koucheleff-Bezborodko stamped in blue at lower right corner (Lugt 1629).
Comte Nicolas A. Koucheleff-Bezborodko, St. Petersburg (Lugt 1629); Comte J.P. van Suchtelen, general and Russian diplomat (Lugt 2332; his mark only on the first page of the album of 102 drawings sold at Sotheby's in 1970); his sale, Paris, 4 June 1862; Cambray and Portalis Collections; Eugène von Wasserman, Brussels; his sale, Brussels, Galerie Georges Giroux, 24-27 October and 3-5 November 1921, pp. 153-4, no. 954; General Jacques Willems, Brussels; his sale, London, Sotheby's, 9 April 1970, lots 143 and 144; H. Shickman Gallery; Adolphe Stein, Paris; Christian Humann; his sale, New York, Sotheby's, 21 January 1983, no. 75 (nine drawings and two prints); Spencer A. Samuels & Company, Ltd., New York.

Watermark: fragmentary.
This sheet belongs to an ensemble of eighteen preparatory sketches (seven for vignettes and eleven for headpieces) for illustrations and two prints after Cochin for an edition of Torquato Tasso's "La Gerusalemme Liberata" published by François Ambroise Didot in Paris in 1784-1786. These illustrations were commissioned by Monsieur, the Comte de Provence and the brother of Louis XVI who later reigned as Louis XVIII (1755-1824). These eighteen drawings were part of an album of 102 drawings sold by Sotheby's in London in 1970. The two drawings missing from the group of twenty in the Sotheby's sale of 1970, are now at the Yvonne Tan Bunzl Gallery in London and in a New York private collection. The present sheet is the preparatory drawing for the headpiece to Canto X, Ott. 66 of "La Gerusalemme Liberata". The composition is very similar to the corresponding finished drawing in the Spencer Collection at the New York Public Library, which is signed and dated, and has almost the same measurements.