The Fright of Astyanax (Hector Bidding Farewell to Andromache)

Object Details

Title:

The Fright of Astyanax (Hector Bidding Farewell to Andromache)

Artist/Maker(s):

Benjamin West (American, 1738 - 1820, active England)

Culture:

American

Place(s):

Great Britain (Place created)

Date:

1797

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, brown wash, and blue and white gouache

Dimensions:

31.8 x 46 cm (12 1/2 x 18 1/8 in.)

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Hector, the commander of the Trojan armies, readies himself to depart for battle while his wife Andromache weeps on his shoulder. Their son Astyanax whimpers in the arms of his nurse, frightened by Hector's plumed helmet and spear. Benjamin West, like many artists, was impressed by the grandeur and simplicity of ancient Greek art. He chose this classical subject, drawn from Homer's Iliad, for two paintings as well as this drawing.

The drawing's provenance is unusual. West dedicated this work to the Polish patriot Thaddeus Kosciuszko during the Pole's brief visit to London in June 1797 after his release from a Russian prison. They met on June 7, and Kosciuszko received the drawing three days later. By December he had moved to Philadelphia, where he became close friends with then-vice president Thomas Jefferson. Kosciuszko later presented the drawing to Jefferson, who kept it at his home Monticello.

Provenance
June 1797

General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, by gift from the artist

1798 - 1826

Thomas Jefferson (Monticello, Virginia), by gift from the above owner

Ellen and Joseph Coolidge, by descent from the above owner

Private Collection (USA) [sold, Christie's, New York, January 7, 1981, lot 55, to Paul Magriel]

Paul Magriel (NYC)

Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc. (NYC), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello (April 13 to July 31, 1993)
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc., (Charlottesville), April 13 to July 31, 1993, (Cat. catalogue by S. R. Stein 23)
Raphael and his Influence Across the Centuries (October 31, 2000 to January 7, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 31, 2000 to January 7, 2001, (Cat.)
Jefferson's America and Napoleon's France: An Exhibition for the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial (April 12 to August 31, 2003)
  • New Orleans Museum of Art, (New Orleans), April 12 to August 31, 2003, (Cat. catalogue by G. Feigenbaum et. al. 182)
A Revolutionary Age: Drawing in Europe, 1770-1820 (January 18 to May 1, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 18 to May 1, 2005, (Cat.)
Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings (July 19 to October 23, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 19 to October 23, 2011, (Cat.)
Gods and Heroes: European Drawings of Classical Mythology (November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014, (Cat.)