In March 1761, just before returning to Paris from a five-year stint as a pensioner at the French Academy in Rome, Fragonard was sent to Naples by his friend and patron, Jean-Claude-Richard, the abbé de Saint-Non (1727–1791), to make copies after works of art. He made at least five copies after sections of Mattia Preti's ceiling in the Church of San Pietro a Maiella. One of Preti's major commissions, the ceiling depicted scenes from the lives of Saint Catherine and Saint Celestine V, set into various shaped stucco frames. This sheet is a counterproof, and therefore in reverse direction, of Fragonard's copy (Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena), reworked by the artist in black chalk.
Inscription: at lower left, in pen and gray ink, “Naples / Eglise de St. Pierre / de Calabrese”; at lower right, in black chalk, in reverse, “de Calabrese”
Hôtel Drouot, Paris , Sale, November 13, 1986 (lot 52); Galerie Cailleux, Paris; Donor: Charlotte C. and John C. Weber
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighteenth-Century French Drawings in New York Collections," February 3, 1999–April 25, 1999.
Morgan Library & Museum. "An Independent Draftsman: Fragonard and the French Tradition," October 13, 2006–January 7, 2007.
Pierre Rosenberg, Barbara Brejon de Lavergnée Saint-Non, Fragonard. Panopticon italiano. Un diario di viaggio ritrovato, 1759-1761. Rome, 1986, cat. no. 263, under no. 38, p. 344.
Jacob Bean "Curatorial Reports and Departmental Accessions: Drawings." in Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, July 1, 1987 - June 30, 1988. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no.118, New York, 1988, p. 22.
Petra Lamers, Pierre Rosenberg Il viaggio nel sud dell'abbé de Saint-Non: Il "Voyage pittoresque à Naples et en Sicile": La genesi, i disegni preparatori, le incisioni.. Naples, 1995, cat. no. 56 bis., p. 87.
Perrin Stein, Mary Tavener Holmes Eighteenth-Century French Drawings in New York Collections Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1999, cat. no. 42, pp. 96-98, ill.
Pierre Rosenberg, Barbara Brejon de Lavergnée Saint-Non, Fragonard, Panopticon Italiano: Un diario di viaggio ritrovato 1759-1761. Rome, 2000, cat. no. 263, under no. 38, p. 344.
Artist: Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris)Date: ca. 1757–59Medium: Black chalk, gray wash, touches of black and brown wash, framing lines in pen and black inkAccession: 52.14On view in:Gallery 691