Composition Study for "Castor and Pollux Freeing Helen"
Joseph-Ferdinand Lancrenon French
Not on view
Lancrenon was a student of Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson, whose elegant Neoclassical style he closely emulated. He competed for the Prix de Rome in 1817, when the subject assigned was Castor and Pollux freeing Helen. In Greek and Roman mythology, Helen of Troy was carried off to Athens by Theseus as a young girl and rescued by her twin brothers, Castor and Pollux.
This drawing is one of eight preliminary studies in the museum's collection, together showing the distinct steps the artist used to plan his canvas, executing a series of gradually more precise compositional studies, followed by studies of facial expression as well as figure and drapery studies. Lancrenon used black chalk, stumping, and white chalk on a variety of different papers to emphasize the sinuous contours and to delicately model the forms.