Two Muses

Charles Le Brun French

Not on view

This drawing is a preparatory composition for a ceiling painting in the Hôtel de la Rivière on the Place Royale, which is today 14 place des Vosges. Built for Antoine Ribaud, controller of finances from 1606-1607, the hôtel was acquired in 1652 by Louis Barbier de la Rivière, bishop of Langres. The contract for the commission dates December 31, 1652, and it details the decoration of two adjacent rooms on the first floor: "la Grand Chambre" and "le Grand Cabinet." Le Brun painted a Triumph of Psyche on the ceiling of the Grande Chambre, which depicted four scenes depicting episodes from the life of Psyche. In addition, each corner of the coving contained eight muses called upon by Apuleius to entertain guests at the wedding of Cupid and Psyche. The MMA sheet depicts the muse of music, Euterpe, who plays a flute; the second muse is Urania, the muse of astronomy, whose hand rests on her attribute—the celestial globe.

Two Muses, Charles Le Brun (French, Paris 1619–1690 Paris), Red chalk, heightened with white, on beige paper

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