Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756–1827)

Sculptures – a young artist drawing after the Antique

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Inscribed in pencil in another hand l.r.: Sculptures and numbered u.l.:56, pen and grey and brown ink and wash over traces of pencil

20.5 x 16 cm

This drawing, which probably dates from 1795–1800, illustrates the practice of drawing after the Antique, with a young artist, clad in scanty classical garb, being advised on proportion by an older, bearded, teacher. Rowlandson, with his characteristic humour, adds a Memento Mori on two levels, both human and sculptural, the latter echo - ing the poses of the former. He also demonstrates his own superb grasp of anatomy in his depiction of the halfkneeling figure whose classical proportions are exemplary.

Rowlandson joined the Royal Academy Schools, then held at Somerset House, in 1772. He was interested throughout his career in the subject of people painting or sketching. This drawing is reminiscent of another by Rowlandson, in a similar palette, of Apelles, the greatest painter of antiquity, at work (Oppé collection, Tate Gallery, TO9199). Provenance: English private collection