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Displaying items by tag: chalk drawing

Thanks to the keen eyes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s curators, the institution snapped up an important Old Master drawing at an auction at Swann Galleries for $840 (with premium). The auction, which took place on January 29, 2013, was part of the highly anticipated Old Masters Week in New York.

The drawing was described in the auction catalogue as being from the early 19th century and of French origin. An illustration in brush, black ink, and gray wash of Socrates dying, the drawing was said to be modeled after Jacques-Louis David’s (1748-1825) painting The Death of Socrates, a work that resides in the Met’s permanent collection. The original painting by David was acquired by the museum in 1931 and is among the artist’s greatest works.

As it turns out, the alleged copy, which was given an estimated selling price of $500-$700, was a previously unrecorded preliminary compositional study for David’s painting. Along with the painting, the Met owns a well-developed chalk drawing of The Death of Socrates, which helped the Met’s curators to authenticate the compositional drawing despite differences in setting, positions, and gestures of the figures featured in the painting.

The drawing was acquired by the museum via Katrin Bellinger, a frequent agent for the institution.

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