Hubert François Gravelot

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Hubert François Gravelot
Drawing for Canto XII of Alessandro Tassoni's "Secchia rapita"
ca. 1766
Pen and ink and pencil on paper, mounted on paper backing.
5 11/16 x 3 7/16 inches (145 x 88 mm)
Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987.

Gravelot's design is preparatory for an illustration to Canto XII in 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 facing p. 179 in volume 2 of the published work and is captioned “E gli diede la spada, e'l pastorale”. The scene shows the Pope dispatching the Cardinal Messer Ottaviano as legate to negotiate an end to the war between Modena and Bologna.


Signed "H. Gravelot inven" in ink at lower right.

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. 18.