Jean-Baptiste Le Prince

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Jean-Baptiste Le Prince
"Oh crime! Oh consolante horreur!"
Black ink and black wash, over black chalk, on paper.
7 5/16 x 4 9/16 inches (186 x 116 mm)
Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund.

This drawing by Jean-Baptiste Le Prince is for an allegorical aquatint vignette included in the 1770 edition of Le Roué vertueux, orné de figures, by Charles-Georges Coqueley de Chaussepierre (1676-1754), a parody of moralizing dramas popular at the time. Le Prince contributed five plates and a title page, all in aquatint, for this work, and several copies of the book contain original drawings by the artist. A copy of the 8-volume work, in which this drawing was found, is in the collection of the Morgan (inv. PML 195969)
Le Prince was a French painter and etcher, born into a family of sculptors and gilders in Metz, who studied with Boucher in Paris around 1750 before travelling to Russia in 1757. He spent five years in Russia, where he was commissioned to work on the newly constructed.Winter Palace and also travelled the country, possibly as far as Siberia. Returning to Paris in 1762, he became famous for his genre paintings of Russian subjects and their distinctive costumes and customs. Le Prince is also credited as one of the first inventors of the aquatint technique, and the years 1763 to 1775 marked the peak of his career. Ill health prompted him to move in 1770 to the countryside outside of Paris, where he produced more landscapes and pastoral scenes.