This highly finished drawing is a study for David's Death of Socrates (31.45), which hangs in the Metropolitan's European Paintings Galleries. The painting depicts the philosopher in prison in 399 BC. Sentenced to death for corrupting the youth of Athens, he pauses to address his followers before drinking the hemlock. This sheet is a study for the pose and drapery of Crito, a wealthy Athenian disciple who, in the painting, sits by Socrates' side and beseeches him not to drink the poison. The grid drawn in black chalk, known as squaring, would have assisted the artist in transferring the design from paper to canvas.
Other studies for the painting were acquired by the museum in 2013 (2013.59) and 2015 (2015.149).
(Perrin Stein, July 2017)
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Artist:Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels)
Medium:Black chalk, stumped, heightened with white chalk, squared in black chalk
Inscription: Lower right, in graphite, in the artist’s hand, “David à son ami chaudet”
Antoine Denis Chaudet (French)Chaudet, Antoine-Denis (Paris); Vendor: Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., London
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Classicism and Romanticism. French Drawings and Prints," September 15–November 1, 1970.
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New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 8–March 25, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Jacques Louis David: Radical Draftsman," February 17–May 15, 2022.
Bean and Turcic 1986.90, Rosenberg and Prat 2002.84
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Jacob Bean, Linda Boyer Gillies, Cynthia Lambros, Roseline Bacou, Réunion des Musées Nationaux Dessins français du Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: de David à Picasso 54th Exposition de Cabinet des Dessins Musée du Louvre, 25 octobre 1973–7 janvier 1974. Paris, 1973, cat. no. 23, fig. no. plate 2, pp. 30-31, ill.
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Luc de Nanteuil Jacques-Louis David. New York, 1985, fig. no. 26, p. 24.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th-18th Century French Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986, cat. no. 90, pp. 87-89, ill.
J. J. Lévêque La Vie et l'oeuvre de Jacques-Louis David. Paris, 1989, p. 84, ill.
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Richard J. Campbell, Victor I. Carlson Visions of Antiquity: Neoclassical Figure Drawings. Exh. cat., Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis. 1993, cat. no. 40, fig. no. 40 and plate 103, pp. 103, 191, ill.
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Louis-Antoine Prat Le Dessin français au XIXe siècle. Somogy Editions d'Art, Paris, 2011, fig. no. 65, 39, ill.
Perrin Stein, Daniella Berman, Philippe Bordes, Mehdi Korchane, Benjamin Peronnet, Louis-Antoine Prat, Juliette Trey Jacques Louis David: Radical Draftsman. New York, 2022, cat. no. 34, 142, 147, ill.
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