Study of Triton Blowing a Conch Shell (recto); Partial Study of an Arm (verso)

Object Details

Title:

Study of Triton Blowing a Conch Shell (recto); Partial Study of an Arm (verso)

Artist/Maker(s):

Annibale Carracci (Italian, 1560 - 1609)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1600

Medium:

Black and white chalk on blue paper (recto); black chalk (verso)

Dimensions:

40.6 x 24.1 cm (16 x 9 1/2 in.)

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A nude triton displays his rippling, muscular figure as he turns to blow a conch shell announcing a special event. His powerful sculptural form and sense of monumentality derive from ancient Roman sculpture and Renaissance art, especially Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ignudi, while the use of black and white chalks on blue-gray paper reflects Agostino Carracci's interest in Venetian art of the 1500s.

Agostino Carracci made this drawing as a study for a triton in his fresco, Thetis Borne to the Wedding Chamber of Peleus, also known as Galatea. The Carracci brothers began work on the decoration of the Galleria Farnese in Rome, including this fresco, in 1597. For centuries, this cycle of paintings influenced artists as much as Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling.

Beginning with drawing from life and understanding anatomy, the Carracci focused on painting the human figure. Their drawings of the nude maintained monumental proportions while broadly sketching the body's essential structure; combining robust energy with soft, rhythmic contours.

The fragment of an arm on the verso of this drawing was trimmed from a study of a triton now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, proving that this sheet was once part of a larger one.

Provenance

Francesco Angeloni, Italian, 1559 - 1652

Pierre Mignard, French, 1612 - 1695

Pierre Crozat, French, 1665 - 1740

Sir Bruce S. Ingram, English, born 1877

Carl Winter (London, England)

Artemis Fine Arts Ltd. , purchased 1984

Exhibitions
Italian Master Drawings (May 5 to July 19, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), May 5 to July 19, 1992
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993) (22; recto)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994) (14; recto)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
Carracci Cartoons (October 25, 1995 to January 14, 1996) (recto)
  • The National Gallery (London), October 25, 1995 to January 14, 1996
Two Centuries of Drawings from Bologna (December 15, 1998 to February 28, 1999) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 15, 1998 to February 28, 1999
Visions of Grandeur: Drawing in the Baroque Age (June 1 to September 12, 2004) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 1 to September 12, 2004
Drawing the Classical Figure (December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009
Gods and Heroes: European Drawings of Classical Mythology (November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014