Studies for a Ceiling Decoration (recto); Studies for a Ceiling Decoration (verso)

Object Details

Title:

Studies for a Ceiling Decoration (recto); Studies for a Ceiling Decoration (verso)

Artist/Maker(s):

Charles de La Fosse (French, 1636 - 1716)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1680

Medium:

Pen, red chalk, watercolor and gouache (recto); Black and red chalk (verso)

Dimensions:

26 x 36.2 cm (10 1/4 x 14 1/4 in.)

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In the central oval of this elaborate design for a ceiling, a loosely sketched couple wrestles among the clouds while other figures watch above them. Charles de la Fosse quickly sketched the central mythological scene but focused most of his attention on the surrounding decoration. Along the border and frame, he showed various options for ornamental motifs that a patron could choose, such as putti holding garlands or draped female figures, portrait medallions or rosettes, and scrolling. The decoration, once the ceiling was built, would have been symmetrical; this drawing allowed the artist to help the patron understand his or her choices.

La Fosse used this drawing as a presentation piece for an unknown ceiling decoration project. Although the artist was one of the most fashionable decorative painters in Paris in the late 1600s, most of the private houses and palaces he decorated no longer survive, so scholars do not know whether this design was ever completed.

Provenance

Private Collection (Paris)

Art Market (Paris)

Exhibitions
Visions of Grandeur: Drawing in the Baroque Age (June 1 to September 12, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 1 to September 12, 2004, (Cat. recto)
The Poetry of Paper (July 23 to October 20, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 23 to October 20, 2013, (Cat. recto)