Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hermaphrodite

Artist:
Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels)
Date:
ca. 1780 or ca. 1810
Medium:
Black chalk on paper
Dimensions:
5 1/2 x 8 5/16 in. (14 x 21.1 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.605
Not on view
David based this drawing on the Sleeping Hermaphrodite (Musée du Louvre, Paris), a celebrated antique sculpture that he may have seen in the collection of the Villa Borghese in Rome or at the Musée Napoléon in Paris, where it was transferred around 1810, after Napoléon purchased it. The marble sculpture, probably a Roman copy of a bronze Greek original of the second century B.C, was unearthed in Rome in the early seventeenth century. In 1620 the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini restored the work, creating the mattress and sheet. In rendering the back of the sculpture, David chose a low vantage point near the foot, creating a foreshortened figure with more defined musculature than that of the marble. The sculpture also inspired artists such as Rubens, who drew a copy of it, and Velásquez, who bought a bronze version for the court of Philip IV in Spain.
J.L.J. David-Cassagnolle, Paris; Marquise de Ludre, Paris; Jacques Seligmann & Co, sale. Acquired by Robert Lehman, 27 November 1962.
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