La Fosse, Study for Saint John the Evangelist

Charles de la FOSSE (1636-1716), Study for Saint John the Evangelist, red chalk reinforced with Pierre Noire pencil, traces of white chalk, 41.7 x 23 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Charles de la FOSSE (1636-1716)
Study for Saint John the Evangelist
red chalk reinforced with Pierre Noire pencil, traces of white chalk
41.7 x 23 cm
© MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
HD image
Charles de La Fosse (1636–1716) was the student and then protégé of Charles Le Brun, Premier Peintre du Roi, prominent member of the Académie Royale de Peinture and a main contributor to the building projects at Versailles until the death of Colbert. La Fosse pursued his training in Italy, where he studied masters such as Giorgione, Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto. The influence of Italian painting, along with his admiration for the work of Rubens, brought a new manner to the French classical style inherited from Le Brun, one that could be described as suppler and more elegant, with the use of bright colours. La Fosse returned from London, where he had been decorating a palace for the Duke of Montagu (1700–1701), when Jules Hardouin-Mansart assigned him the paintings of the Dôme des Invalides. Between 1702 and 1706, he painted the decor of the dome and the pendentives portraying Saint Louis presenting his arms to Christ and the four Evangelists.

The drawing at MuMa is a study for the figure of Saint John the Evangelist who appears in one of the dome's pendentives. This nude study precedes a study of Saint John clothed, similar in size, exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art. These two studies illustrate the academic technique inherited from Le Brun in which a figure must first be drawn nude, then draped. They also undoubtedly borrow from Michelangelo's seated prophets and sibyls on the Sistine Chapel. The MuMa drawing shows the tip of the feather in the Evangelist's hand, although it does not appear in the Cleveland drawing. This distinction connects the study of Saint John nude to the preparatory sketch for the dome held by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. And yet the final painting at the Invalides, showing Saint John in another posture, is significantly different from these studies and the sketch.

The sheet, along with a set of over eighty drawings by La Fosse, belonged to the collector Rémi Chardey, and was purchased by the city of Le Havre in 1866.

Artworks in context : Graphic arts (18)

Pablo PICASSO (1881-1973), The Beggar, 1904, watercolour on paper, 36 x 26 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © Succession Picasso, 2013
Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), Drapery Study. Study for Semiramis Building Babylon, ca. 1860-1862, graphite, Pierre Noire pencil and white gouache, on blue-grey laid paper, 32.8 x 31.3 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Charles de la FOSSE (1636-1716), Study for Saint John the Evangelist, red chalk reinforced with Pierre Noire pencil, traces of white chalk, 41.7 x 23 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Henri Edmond CROSS (1856-1910), Woman and Dog Among the Umbrella Pines, charcoal on laid watermarked paper bearing the Auguste Lepage stamp, 24.3 x 31 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Albert MARQUET (1875-1947), Woman, Child and Man from Behind, ca. 1904, black ink on wove paper, 19.5 x 27.6 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), The Banks of the Orge at Breuillet, 1895, pastel on paper, 60 x 47 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Henri Edmond CROSS (1856-1910), Sunset, watercolour on vellum paper. © MuMa Le Havre
Henri Edmond CROSS (1856-1910), Le Mourillon, 1906, watercolour and black pencil on thick vellum paper, 16.9 x 24.7 cm. Senn-Foulds collection. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), Saddle Horse, ca. 1862, graphite on tracing paper, 17.8 x 28.1 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), Marguerite Degas, ca. 1859-1860, graphite on wove paper, 30.1 x 23.2 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Eugène DELACROIX (1798-1863), Six Studies of Cats, brown ink on vellum papier, 18.8 x 18 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), Fog at Sunrise, 1919, pastel on paper, 47 x 62 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), Maritime Pines, Creek in Le Brusc, ca. 1911, pastel on paper, 48 x 62 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), Bridge Over the Sédelle, Crozant, 1896, pastel on paper, 47 x 60 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), Woman's Head in Profile, 1878, pastel on paper, 47 x 32 cm . © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Albert MARQUET (1875-1947), Sinuous Woman (front), ca. 1904, Indian ink on wove paper, 28.5 x 18.8 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2015
Odilon REDON (1840-1916), Profile of a Man with a Bouquet of Flowers, ca. 1880-1885, charcoal with black pencil, smudging, marks of erasing on vellum paper, 48.1 x 36.2 cm. Senn-Foulds collection. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), Mill on the Creuse, 1896, pastel on paper, 47.5 x 61 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn