Hubert François Gravelot

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Hubert François Gravelot
Venus in Her Chariot, Canto II of Alessandro Tassoni's "Secchia rapita"
ca. 1766
Pen and ink and pencil on paper.
5 1/16 x 3 9/16 inches (129 x 90 mm)
Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987.

Gravelot's design is preparatory for an illustration to Canto II of an edition of Alessandro Tassoni's "Secchia rapita" (“The Stolen Bucket”), published in Paris by Lorenzo Prault and Pietro Durand in 1766. Tassoni's mock-heroic poem, originally published in Paris in 1622, blends the construct of an epic with an absurd premise: a 14th century war between Modena and Bologna was actually caused by the Modenese stealing a bucket from Bologna. The corresponding plate appears on p. 46 of the published volume. The scene shows Venus riding aloft in her chariot, surrounded by arms and armor, a thyrsus, and an overturned cup and ewer.

From the library of Gordon N. Ray.
Associated names: 

Ray, Gordon Norton, 1915-1986, former owner.


Kraemer, Ruth S. "Drawings by Gravelot for Alessandro Tassoni's mock-heroic poem La secchia rapita." Master drawings, XXVIII (Autumn 1990), p. 338-343, no. 5.