Hubert François Gravelot

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Hubert François Gravelot
Preliminary Drawing for Canto I of Alessandro Tassoni's "Secchia rapita"
ca. 1766
Pen and ink and pencil on paper, mounted on paper backing.
5 5/16 x 3 7/16 inches (134 x 87 mm)
Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987.
From the library of Gordon N. Ray.

Kraemer, Ruth S. "Drawings by Gravelot for Alessandro Tassoni's mock-heroic poem La secchia rapita." Master drawings, XXVIII (Autumn 1990), p. 338-343.


Gravelot's design is preparatory for an illustration for Canto I 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 is captioned “Non fu rapita mai con più fatica Elena bella” and appears facing p. 1 in volume 1 of the published work. The scene shows the battle for the bucket in the streets of Bologna.

Associated names: 

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