Study of a Seated Mannequin with an Arrangement of Drapery, for a Figure of the Virgin
Intended for a figure of the Virgin Mary, this rare drawing served to study the disposition of the draperies and folds by arranging real cloth on a mannequin probably made of wood. Here, the puppet-like seated figure, or mannequin, is clearly recognizable, with its stylized bald head, abstract notation for facial features, and clumplike hands, while the drapery is carefully detailed. The artist worked on the design at different times, keeping it as an important exemplar in his studio. He began to draw the figure and the draperies in soft black chalk, and then refined it with different colors of ink both in the hatching and wash modeling. The inscription along the top of the sheet is in a scribal hand, “ave vergine,” and suggests an artist who was a manuscript illuminator or who worked closely with one.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
This large print that is in excellent condition is a great rarity, and complements our extensive collection of Venetian sixteenth-century woodcuts. Joined on two sheets, it depicts the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The representation of architecture and space is highly inventive and emphasizes a deep perspective populated with various figures in recognizable contemporary dress. As such, a famous yet distant Christian site is made familiar to a European audience. The thick printed black frame suggests that the print was meant to be pinned to a wall. Venice was the center of woodcut production in Europe in the sixteenth century where Dalle Greche was active during the 1540s. He is best known as the publisher for the 1549 edition of Titian’s enormous woodcut of the Drowning of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea (184.108.40.206-138).
Coast Scene with a View of Civitavecchia
This sun-bathed, late afternoon view of the Italian coast is the work of Claude Lorrain, the most famous and sought-after landscape painter working in Rome in the seventeenth century. He made numerous plein air studies in the countryside around Rome and then incorporated his knowledge of nature and light into his painted compositions.
The sheet, along with its pendant, also a gift to the Museum (2020.80.2), was made as part of a commission from Pope Urban VIII for a pair of small octagonal paintings on copper depicting papal building sites. The scenes combine topographical and idealized elements and are animated by foreground figures. Here, on the left, workers are busy repairing a ship that has been propped against a stone tower. In the center, two travelers stop to converse with a draftsman who is engaged in sketching the scene before him.
Muff, Handkerchief, and Mask
This exquisite still life is one of several featuring fur muffs etched by Hollar. The peregrinatory Bohemian printmaker made the piece during his first stay in England in the early 1640s when he was in the employ of the Earl of Arundel. This seductive and highly original image suggests the nearby presence of a fashionable woman who discarded her luxurious accessories as she stepped inside from the cold. The fine lines of etching and touches of engraving that express the prickly softness of the fur would wear down quickly as Hollar’s copperplates were printed, so beautiful, rich impressions such as this one are rare.
Marie Antoinette in a Park
This drawing grew out of a mutually beneficial alliance between two young women at the French court in the late eighteenth century. Marie-Antoinette, the Austrian-born queen, sought to bolster her reputation in her adopted country by commissioning flattering and sympathetic portraits. Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun supplied these, and in return gained a level of recognition that was accorded to very few women painters at the time.
Executed in black chalk, blended and softened to gray in areas, and with white highlights, this appears to be a finished work, not a study for a painting. The young queen is both stately and relaxed, wearing a fashionable robe à la polonaise, with panels of fabric looped up into billowing forms, revealing flounces of striped chiffon.
The drawing came to The Met as part of the bequest of Jayne Wrightsman, who admired the talented women who had risen to power in the courts of Europe.
Study of a Young Model
This watercolor is one of several that Hunt devoted to Black subjects. Formerly described as a boxer, the young man’s unmarred body suggests a less punishing profession, and he may have been a minstrel performer befriended by the artist. Hunt gave private lessons to amateur watercolorists, and this work would have been a useful model for them to copy—especially the women, barred from life-drawing classes at that time. Delicately stippled washes describe the body, with broader strokes of white gouache used for the pushed-up trousers. Personal disabilities strengthened Hunt’s appreciation for the muscular form—his stunted growth made walking difficult—keeping him from his father’s tin-plating workshop, but freeing him to pursue art.
Marguerite De Gas, the Artist's Sister
This unique impression of an early etching by Degas, a sensitive and frank portrait of his sister a few years before her marriage, greatly enhances the Museum’s deep holdings of the artist’s work. Familial portraiture was essential to Degas’s formation as an artist and this is the first portrait of an immediate family member in any medium to enter the collection. The print also situates the artist in relation to a number of his major influences, sharing compositional similarities with works by Ingres, Delacroix, and Rembrandt. This impression has a distinguished early provenance beginning with the collection of Degas’s friend and fellow printmaker Michel Manzi (1849–1915)—who likely executed the photographic reproduction based on it—it was then owned by Degas’s niece, Jeanne Fèvre, the daughter of the sitter, followed by the print scholar Marcel Guérin (1873-1948).
The Road Rights of Wheelmen
Eye-catching posters advertising books and literary magazines were ubiquitous in cities across the United States in the 1890s. Publicizing the first book on bicycle etiquette, Nadall’s poster attests to the recent rise in popularity of cycling among middle- and upper-class Americans who engaged in the leisure activity during moments of downtime. Poster artists frequently featured bicycles in their designs to communicate values of cosmopolitan sophistication. Engaging the style of art nouveau, Nadall exaggerated the volume of the cyclist’s sleeves and breeches and the vertical thrust of the vegetation surrounding her. The poster joins The Met’s superb collection of literary posters acquired over four decades through the generosity of Mr. Leonard Lauder.