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Charles-Louis Clérisseau (Paris 1721-1820 Auteuil)
Charles-Louis Clérisseau (Paris 1721-1820 Auteuil)

A classical capriccio with figures by a great arch

Details
Charles-Louis Clérisseau (Paris 1721-1820 Auteuil)
A classical capriccio with figures by a great arch
signed and dated 'Clerisseau 1786.'
trances of black chalk, bodycolour
18¾ x 14½ in. (47.7 x 36.9 cm.)

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Lot Essay

The present drawing, dated 1786, is one of a number of markedly similar capricci produced over the course of Clérisseau’s long career. Its distinguishing feature - an elaborate consoled doorway beneath a Corinthian entablature and pediment - is architectural fantasy, the artist playfully manipulating the orders to create a convincingly classical yet anachronistic design. The motif first occurs in a drawing dated 1762, made on a journey through Italy, now in the Louvre (Inv. 25242; T. McCormick, Charles-Louis Clérisseau and the Genesis of Neo-Classicism, New York, 1990, p. 120, fig. 97). Clérisseau used the Louvre drawing as one of his reception pieces for admission to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1768. The artist repeated the composition in a number of other drawings: two versions with variations in the foreground, figures and frieze are in the Soane Museum, London (Inv. P 103 and P 129, dated 1771 and 1763 respectively), one version dated 1764 was sold at Sotheby's, London, 13 March 1975, lot 25, while another almost identical version, dated 1766, is in the collection of the Marquis of Linlithgow (see T. McCormick, op. cit., p. 120).

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