Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Sculptor [Preparations for the Academy, Old Joseph Nollekens and his Venus]

Artist:
Thomas Rowlandson (British, London 1757–1827 London)
Subject:
Joseph Nollekens (British, London 1737–1823 London)
Date:
ca. 1800
Medium:
Hand-colored etching
Dimensions:
Sheet (trimmed): 11 1/4 × 8 9/16 in. (28.5 × 21.8 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1959
Accession Number:
59.533.566
Not on view
Rowlandson caricatures Sir Joseph Nollekens, who sculptures of classical gods and contemporary busts helped popularize Neoclassical taste in Britain. The sculptor’s collection of plaster and terracotta casts and antique fragments, brought back from Rome, crowds his studio. Shown in his sixties, Nollekens needs spectacles to work on a clay model of Venus and Cupid intended for the next Royal Academy exhibition, but his lecherous expression and flushed cheeks suggest his undiminished ability to appreciate the nude who perches amidst the statuary. A large sculpted head of Jupiter, a god notorious for his many affairs, also eyes the model and the image suggests high-minded aesthetic pursuits falter when confronted with the attraction of living beauty.
Inscription: Inscribed in plate below image center: "The Sculptor"; right: "Rowlandson inv."
Francis Harvey (British, active by 1859–died 1899); C. W. Dyson Perrins, his sale Sotheby's Jan. 12, 1959, lot 163; Vendor: Sotheby's, London Jan. 12, 1959, lot 163
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.

Grego II.16-18, 396 (as Preparations...); British Museum Satires 9572
Frederic George Stephens, M. Dorothy George Catalogue of political and personal satires preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. 11 vols., London, 1870-, cat. no. 9572.

Joseph Grego Rowlandson the Caricaturist: A selection from his works, with anecdotal desciptions.... 2 vols., London, 1880, vol. II, pp. 16-18, 396 (1800, Preparations for the Academy, Old Nollekens and his Venus).

John J. McKendry "Antiquity Smith." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 20, February 1962, fig. no. 3, ill.

Nadine Orenstein, Constance C. McPhee Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine Exh. cat.: September 13, 2011 - March 4, 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven and London, 2011, Entry by Constance McPhee, cat. no. 96, p. 130, ill.



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