Dec 2, 2010
Oct 28, 2008

An Insect Ball

An Insect Ball


Jean-Jacques Grandville

(French, 1803–1847)

Pen and black ink with watercolor

Support: Beige wove paper

Sheet: 12.5 x 21.3 cm (4 15/16 x 8 3/8 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.345



J.-J. Grandville became best known for fantastical drawings like this one, in which insects act like humans. Here, smaller creatures above use flowers or leaves as musical instruments, and their larger counterparts below dance a galop. An Insect Ball was one of more than 50 drawings that the artist made for wood-engraved reproduction in Le Magasin pittoresque (The Picturesque Store), a popular encyclopedic review edited by Grandville's friend Edouard Charton. In text printed below the wood-engraved version of An Insect Ball, Grandville explained that his aim was to show insects with the same humorous personalities seen at any human ball, while also rendering their forms with scientific accuracy.

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