Red chalk on beige paper
10.5 x 14.5 cm (32 x 39.5 framed)
Bibliography: this drawing is listed under the number D. 194 (Tome II - page 261) in the catalogue raisonné established by Clémentine Gustin-Gomez
In this lively sketch, Charles de La Fosse, who was trained in fresco painting during his stay in Italy, presents us with two angels blowing, probably intended for a ceiling project.
1. Charles de La Fosse, the choice of colour
The son of a jeweller, Charles de La Fosse began his apprenticeship with the painter-engraver François Chauveau (1613 - 1676) before joining the workshop of Charles Le Brun (1619 - 1690) in around 1654-1655, where he worked in particular at the Hôtel Lambert on the Ile Saint-Louis. He then left for Italy and spent two years in Rome, but above all three years in Venice. It was the Venetian painters who had the most decisive influence on his work.
Returning to France in 1664, he joined Charles Le Brun's team of painters and participated in the decoration of the Tuileries Palace. He was admitted to the Royal Academy in 1674 and became its director in 1699. He worked both for the Grands Appartements of Versailles and for private commissions. His fame spread beyond the borders and he was called to England where he spent two years (1689-1691).
From 1702 to 1706 he frescoed the interior of the dome of the Invalides’ Church in Paris, then in 1710 the Resurrection of Christ in the cul-de-four of the Royal Chapel in Versailles. From 1706 onwards, he lived at the mansion of the wealthy collector Pierre Crozat, for whom he painted a ceiling on the theme of Phaeton. It was also at Crozat's house that he met the young Watteau, whose early works he would greatly influence.
2. Description of the artwork
Two angels appear halfway into the clouds; the one on the left is standing upright while the one on the right is leaning forward. Both are depicted as an allegory of the winds and their breath is represented by vigorous strokes escaping from their mouths.
This red chalk has been classified among the ceiling studies by Clémentine Gustin-Gomez, a specialist on this artist. It seems legitimate to presume that these two angels, surrounded by clouds, were indeed intended to decorate a ceiling. The fact that they are personifications of the winds suggests that they were probably intended for secular purposes.
Many of the ceilings painted by La Fosse have disappeared and it is not possible to link this study to a specific project. However, two engravings, one by Jacques Tardieu representing The Abduction of Orithia by Boreas, (God of the North Wind), and the other by Louis de Surugne representing The Air or the Abduction of Orithia (P. 49 and P. 89 of Clémentine Gustin-Gomez's book) suggest settings very similar to the one that could have been executed on the basis of our red chalk.
This drawing is presented in a gilded and carved wooden frame from the Louis XIII period.
Main bibliographic reference :
Clémentine Gustin-Gomez - Charles de La Fosse 1636-1716 - Dijon 2006
Delevery information :
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