Nothing is known of Jean-Louis-Marie Prudhomme as an artist, though he was a renowned librarian and journalist during the French Revolution. He narrowly escaped execution during the Reign of Terror because of his pro-royalist writings. This highly finished watercolor, which entered the Morgan Library & Museum along with two others (inv. 2009.259) was perhaps made in preparation for one of Prudhomme's many publications. The scene features a nude Venus seen from behind surrounded by the arms that she gave to Aeneas. The idealized forms and the classical draperies are in a neoclassicist style also employed by Prudhomme's contemporaries, such as Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825).
Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas
Pen and brown ink and wash and watercolor on laid paper.
11 5/16 x 16 1/8 inches (287 X 410 mm)
The Joseph F. McCrindle Collection.
Monsieur le Prince Ysenberg-Birstein (?); John Bosthader (?), from whom acquired in 1987 by Joseph F. McCrindle, New York (McCrindle collection no. A1644), as "Jean-Louis-Marie Prudhomme."