Sheet: 13.3 x 20 cm (5 1/4 x 7 7/8 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.251
Catalogue raisonné: Wildenstein III ; Le Blanc 18 : Portalis & Beraldi II.210.1
The set of Bacchanales was made two years after Fragonard returned from a trip to Italy where he studied Roman antiquities. However, these light-hearted vignettes owe more to the effervescent aspects of the 18th-century Rococo period than to a serious understanding of antiquity and Roman art. Fragonard's black chalk drawing for Nymph Supported by Two Satyrs—after a marble bas-relief then in the Villa Mattei in Rome—and two other studies for these etchings still exist. Although this is one of Fragonard's earliest prints, it shows that he had already mastered the process: the etched lines effectively suggest the weight and movement of the figures and also provide a uniform system of light and shading for the decorative backdrop of foliage.
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