The Punishment of Niobe

Merry Joseph Blondel French

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Blondel’s deft classicism and ability to work successfully on a large scale earned him numerous commissions for ceiling decorations at palaces in and around Paris. This sheet, beautifully modeled in black and white chalk, depicts Niobe kneeling and supporting the limp body of her daughter. It is a study for the primary figures in a panel in the ceiling of the Galerie de Diane at the Château de Fontainebleau. Even without the larger narrative, Blondel’s treatment of the poses, expressions, and fall of the drapery conveys the tragedy of the subject.

The Punishment of Niobe, Merry Joseph Blondel (French, Paris 1781–1853 Paris), Conté crayon and white chalk on buff paper

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