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Kneeling Sabine, Lifting a Nude Infant

Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

In his early studies for The Intervention of the Sabine Women, David had envisioned the male warriors clothed, a choice he later renounced in favor of what he considered to be the greater authenticity of classical nudity. Thus, the detailed drapery studies that he made for major figures in his history paintings are in this case all for female characters: Hersilia and her supporting cast of young mothers.

Tales of beautiful French society women vying to pose for certain figures have become part of the picture’s legend. The filmy draperies worn by David’s Sabine women and the unstructured white gowns that became fashionable during this period do share a similar elegant simplicity.

Kneeling Sabine, Lifting a Nude Infant, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Graphite, black chalk, stumped, heightened with white, squared in graphite

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