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Hercules and Antaeus

Hercules and Antaeus
black chalk, pen and black ink, grey wash
8 ¼ x 5 ¾ in. (21 x 14.5 cm)
Possibly part of an album in the collection of H. Bordes, Paris; bought by Paul Prouté, Paris, and sold on in 1936 to P. and D. Colnaghi, London, and later dismembered.

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Lot Essay

This drawing and the following lot are part of a group of similar size, technique and subject, now dispersed in various public and private collections. James Byam Shaw recorded how an album with 38 sheets, once in the Bordes collection, was bought by Colnaghi from the Galerie Paul Prouté in Paris in 1936 and later dismembered (J. Byam Shaw in The Robert Lehman Collection. Italian Eighteenth-Century Drawings, VI, New York, 1987, pp. 163-164, under no. 133). Others were included in the so-called Beauchamp Album, dispersed in 1965 (Christie’s, London, 15 June 1965, lots 149-152; see F. Stampfle and C. D. Denison, Drawings from the Collection of Lore and Rudolf Heinemann, exhib. cat., New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1973, p. 57). Two of such sheets are in the Robert Lehman collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 1975.1.491, 1975.1.492; see Byam Shaw, op. cit., nos. 133, 134, ill.), and two more at the Morgan Library and Museum (inv. 1996.129, 1996.130; see Stampfle and Denison, op. cit., nos. 96, 97, ill.) are very similar to the present ones. All the drawings depict variations on the struggle between Hercules and Antaeus. While some sheets include a simple pedestal underneath the figures, others present elements of a landscape setting. It has been suggested that a source of inspiration for the series could have been a statue, either an antique marble or a small Renaissance bronze (Byam Shaw, op. cit., p. 164).

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