About this artwork
This large, bold drawing is a preparatory study for the painting The Intervention of the Sabine Women. In the legendary origin story of ancient Rome, the city’s founder Romulus and his men sought to establish families by abducting the neighboring Sabine women and forcing them to become their wives. When the vengeful Sabines declared war on the Romans, Romulus’s wife and the other Sabine women threw themselves and their infants between the two armies and successfully stopped a war.
The subject allowed Jacques-Louis David, who conceived of it while in prison for his activities during the French Revolution, to deliver a powerful postrevolutionary message of political and familial reconciliation.
On loan to The Morgan Library and Museum for Pure Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection
- Prints and Drawings
- Jacques Louis David
- Nude Soldiers Gesticulating with Their Weapons (recto); Two Drapery Studies for the Figure of Tatius (verso)
- Black chalk and pen and black ink, with touches of white chalk (recto) and black chalk, with touches of red and white chalk (verso) on cream laid paper, pieced
- Inscription, lower right, brown ink: "David facit. anno5."
- 409 × 550 mm
- Gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray