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The Wife and Daughters of Brutus

Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

It was David’s practice to begin by depicting his figures nude, presumably to ensure that the anatomy and proportions were correct before adding clothing. Here, he studies the complex grouping of Brutus’s wife and daughters, using wash to capture the strong fall of light. The superimposed grid was a method of transferring the forms to another sheet.

He would later revise their poses, the moment of inspiration captured in a schematic red chalk sketch hanging nearby.

The Wife and Daughters of Brutus, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, touches of brush and brown wash, squared and (along lower margin) numbered in black chalk

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