Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

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)

Crito, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Black chalk, stumped, heightened with white chalk, squared in black chalk

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