Hubert François Gravelot

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Hubert François Gravelot
Drawing for Canto II of Alessandro Tassoni's "Secchia rapita"
ca. 1766
Pen and ink and pencil on paper, mounted on paper backing.
5 5/8 x 3 7/16 inches (142 x 87 mm)
Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987.

Drawing signed "H. Gravelot inven" in ink at lower right.

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, no. 4.


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 is captioned “E tornerò, se me ne vien talento, dov'è quel pozzo e cacherovvi drento” and appears facing p. 23 in the published volume. The scene shows Manfred addressing the senate at the audience of the Bolognese ambassadors who have arrived to demand the return of the stolen bucket.

Associated names: 

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