Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels)
Black chalk with brush and gray wash
14 7/16 x 15 9/16 in. (36.7 x 39.5 cm)
Gift of Joan K. Davidson, in memory of her mother, Alice M. Kaplan, 1998
Not on view
Before painting his Neoclassical masterpiece The Oath of the Horatii (Musée du Louvre, Paris), David explored many episodes of the story in sketches. In this sheet, David portrays the death of Camilla in the aftermath of the battle between the ancient Roman and Alban tribes. To spare lives, each tribe had delegated three warriors to settle the dispute. The lone survivor of the contest, Horatius, has returned to find his sister, Camilla, grieving for her slain fiancé, a member of the Curiatii clan. In his anger over her unpatriotic display of emotion, Horatius kills her on the spot. Although he would ultimately choose an earlier and less unsavory moment of the story, David carried over into the final painted version the idea of using the female expression of grief as a counterpoint to male acts of bravery and patriotism. Themes of love and duty opposed held a strong attraction for David and would gain resonance during the political turmoil of the late eighteenth century.
Marking: On verso, in blue ink at lower left corner: collector's mark of Alice Kaplan, interlocking AK (not in Lugt)
Gilbert Pelham owned the work in 1973, according to Rosenberg and Prat catalogue.; Donor: Joan K. Davidson
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighteenth-Century French Drawings in New York Collections," February 3, 1999–April 25, 1999.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 8, 2007–March 25, 2007.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," October 8, 2014–December 8, 2014.
Rosenberg and Prat 2002.49
Linda Bantel The Alice M. Kaplan Collection. Columbia University, New York, 1981, cat. no. 42, pp. 98-9.
Antoine Schnapper, Arlette Sérullaz Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825. Ex. cat. Paris and Versailles, 1989, cat. no. under no. 52, pp. 138 & 164.
Carmen C. Bambach, Colta Ives, Perrin Stein, Nadine Orenstein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1998-1999." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 57, no. 2, Autumn 1999, p. 38, ill.
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. 88, pp. 202-203, ill.
"Principales acquisitions des musées en 1999." Gazette des Beaux-Arts. vol. 135, no. 1574, Paris, March 2000, fig. no. 222, p. 57, ill.
Pierre Rosenberg, Louis-Antoine Prat Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825: Catalogue raisonné des dessins. 2 vols., Milan, 2002, cat. no. 49, p. 68, ill.