Jul 29, 2020
Jul 29, 2020

Charon and the Souls of the Dead

Charon and the Souls of the Dead

c. 1858

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

(French, 1827–1875)

Pen and brown ink and graphite on antique laid paper (recto), black chalk on antique laid paper (verso)

Sheet: 16.1 x 22.4 cm (6 5/16 x 8 13/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2019.251


Did you know?

This drawing was probably Carpeaux’s first version of the subject. In later sketches, he greatly reduced the number of figures in the composition.


This drawing was likely created during time that Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux spent in Rome, where he studied the work of Renaissance masters. Carpeaux was particularly influenced by Michelangelo, especially the Italian sculptor’s compositions featuring twisted bodies and stacked forms. This drawing is one of several that were created in preparation for a painting—which was never completed—of Charon, responsible for ferrying deceased souls to the world of the dead.

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