Study for Geometry in “The Sorbonne"

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes French

Not on view

The youthful, pensive figure in this drawing stands as part of an allegory of geometry in one of Puvis’s great mural masterpieces: "The Sorbonne" (1887–89), which he painted in the newly rebuilt lecture hall of the University of Paris. The unfinished lower body indicates that Puvis had likely already decided on his placement behind a rock in the mural before he made the drawing of the model. Yet the pose appears reversed in the finished painting, suggesting that the artist may have flipped the tracing paper over as he transferred the design in a subsequent phase of developing the composition. A reduced-scale version of the mural (29.100.117), in which transfer gridlines are also visible, is on view in Gallery 800.

Study for Geometry in “The Sorbonne", Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (French, Lyons 1824–1898 Paris), Fabricated black crayon, squared with blue crayon

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