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2015: Pierre-Paul Prud'hon: Napoleon’s Draughtsman

23 June 2015 - 15 November 2015

'These works achieve that rare feat of feeling real and ethereal at the same time' - Alistair Smart, The Telegraph

Timed to coincide with London's commemorations surrounding the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Prud’hon: Napoleon’s Draughtsman was the first UK exhibition devoted to Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (1758-1823), an artist who, through his distinctive and unconventional vision, emerged as one of the most exceptional talents working in post-Revolutionary Paris.

A selection of 13 works on paper celebrated Prud’hon as court artist to Napoleon and Joséphine Bonaparte and as one of France’s greatest draughtsmen. The display focused on the artist’s extraordinary life studies in white and black chalk, remarkable for their ethereal forms, subtlety of light and shade, and mastery of expression.

Prud’hon, unlike many of his contemporaries, drew from the live model throughout his career giving him the freedom to focus on certain forms or details without the confines of specific commissions. His drawings, which range from preparatory studies for interior decoration to allegorical compositions (conveying meaning through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, and events) not only demonstrate his incredible skill but also provide a sense of contact with the heart and mind of the artist.

This display is part of Rediscovering Old Masters: The Melosi Series.