Portrait of Delphine - 18th-century French Rococo black chalk drawing

An original 18th-century French Rococo black chalk drawing, Portrait of Delphine.

This captivating portrait of a young French girl called Delphine is a fine example of 18th-century French Rococo drawing. The fluid chalk lines, with an emphasis on the curvature of facial features, cascading locks and softly draped clothing, exemplify the florid grace of the Rococo style. The light tonal key is also characteristically Rococo – the buff coloured paper allowing for a lightness of touch with minimal black chalk marks, stumping (smudging of the black chalk) and mere touches of white chalk for highlights.

Portraiture was popular amongst Rococo artists throughout Europe, and this artist has chosen a tender and romantic subject – a doe-eyed girl – in keeping with Rococo fashions for subjects such as cherubs and myths of love. The artist has drawn 'Delphine' with great sensitivity, presenting her in an informal, asymmetrical pose, touchingly capturing a fleeting moment. At the same time, the drawing’s composition and large scale resemble a head-and-shoulders portrait bust (the work of French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne the Younger, for example) – giving the portrait a certain gravitas and monumentality. On laid paper.

Unsigned. Inscribed indistinctly lower right: ‘Delphine Driette[?]’
There are two central fold crease lines running horizontally across the paper, and some further creasing to the lower right corner. Small stain to the far upper left corner, and some scattered marks and foxing as shown. There are three short repaired tears to the edges of the paper (two to the right and one to the left) and a small repaired tear in the sheet towards the upper right corner. The upper corners have glue marks and mounting tape remnants to the verso as shown.
48cm x 38.5cm.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JG-024

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