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The Nurse and the Children of the Horatii

Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

In the fall of 1784, David returned to Rome to focus on completing his painting The Oath of the Horatii. There, as the last stage of preparation, he made, perhaps with the assistance of his student Jean Germain Drouais, large drapery studies for each of the major figures. Drawn from posed models, they combine black and white chalks to carefully record the fall of light on the folds of fabric.

The overlapping figures are rendered in contour alone and placed to block out the areas of clothing that would not be visible, an indication that the composition was already largely resolved. The grid of squares drawn over the study was a method of transferring the design to canvas.

The Nurse and the Children of the Horatii, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Black chalk, stumped, heightened with white, squared in black chalk, on beige paper

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