A Young Woman of Frascati

Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

It must not have been long after his arrival in Rome that David tried his hand at a tradition venerated among French artists visiting Italy: drawing young Italian women in regional dress. He would have been aware of precedents by Nicolas Vleughels, Jean Barbault, and Jean-Baptiste Greuze, if not from the works themselves, then from the engravings made after them, which featured full-length figures, detailed costumes, and identifying captions.

In David’s Young Woman of Frascati, the subject is shown standing and in strict profile, with a long headscarf falling to a point behind her back and a tight-waisted, striped dress embellished with ribbons at the shoulder. However, unlike the earlier tradition which focusing on details of dress, here the subject is presented at half-length and bathed in natural light, her fresh features and upswept hair outshining the details of her costume.

A Young Woman of Frascati, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Red chalk; framing lines in pen and brown ink, irregularly cut

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