About this artwork
After several unsuccessful attempts, Jacques-Louis David finally won the highly coveted Prix de Rome in 1774. The award subsidized his first trip to the city in 1775 to study Classical art and architecture, a necessity for any ambitious painter of the period. Over the next five years, David absorbed and recorded everything he saw in hundreds of drawings, principally in black chalk, sometimes heightened with wash. He copied ancient Greek and Roman art as well as work by Old Masters such as Raphael, Correggio, and Michelangelo, and he studied the architecture and landscape of Rome and its surrounding area (often called la campagna, or the countryside). After his return to France, he assembled these sheets into two albums, which his sons, Eugène and Jules, later divided into twelve parts. The present sheet comes from the tenth album, which remained with David’s heirs until the 1950s.
That David preserved the sketches from his Italian sojourn suggests the important role they played in his oeuvre, serving as a kind of visual encyclopedia of motifs and ideas. This sheet, like his other Italian sketches, fueled and invigorated David’s mature artistic production, underpinning the evolution of his signature Neoclassical style.
- Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Jacques Louis David
- Villa in the Campagna
- France (Artist's nationality)
- Brush and gray washes, over graphite, on ivory laid paper
- Inscribed recto, upper right, in graphite: "de bon coté"; verso, lower center, in graphite: "from Album #10 of J. L. David auction"
- 16.9 × 22.3 cm (6 11/16 × 8 13/16 in.)
- Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection