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Mercury and the Three Graces

Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827)



Ink and watercolour

4 x 5 ½ inches

'Chris Beetles Summer Show 2024', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, June-September 2024, no 5

Thomas Rowlandson held a great interest in classical imagery throughout his career, having first been introduced to the study of ancient sculpture while a student of the Royal Academy Schools. The mythology of the Classical world and the art that it inspired both held a great appeal to him, and was often used as a weapon in his satirical arsenal.

The present drawing is an example of Rowlandson’s emulation of Classical beauty. Like many of Rowlandson’s Classical images, it is inspired by a print of an old master painting, in this instance the inspiration is possibly Agostino Carracci’s etching and engraving of
Mercury and the Three Graces by Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594).

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