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John Flaxman
1755–1826

Drawing of a statue of Pericles

Full screen

Medium
Ink and brown wash
Size
10 ½ × 7 inches · 270 × 180 mm
Notes
Drawn c.1800
Collections
  • Edward Croft-Murray (1907-1980);
  • By descent to 2016.

This fascinating study seems to have been made by John Flaxman in about 1800. At the same date Flaxman made a drawing of a famous bust of the Greek statesman Pericles from the collection of Charles Townley. Flaxman’s drawing was engraved by William Blake and used to illustrate William Hayley’s Essay on Sculpture published in 1800. Flaxman’s wash drawing of Pericles shows the full-figure, based on a sculpture in the Museo Pio-Clementino at the Vatican, but possibly partly based on Charles Townley’s bust. Numerous studies after notable antiquities by Flaxman survive – Townley himself owned several drawings after antique sculpture by Flaxman – and the precise purpose of this finely worked wash drawing is not entirely clear. Worked in pencil and then ink, this drawing is a demonstration of Flaxman’s intense interest in the antique.