Sculptor at Work on a Colossal Statue

Artist: Carl August Ehrensvärd (Swedish, 1745–1800)

Former Attribution: Formerly attributed to Johann Tobias Sergel (Swedish, Stockholm 1740–1814 Stockholm)

Date: mid-18th–18th century

Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and gray wash, white gouache, on gray paper.

Dimensions: 16 7/16 x 10 1/2 in. (41.7 x 26.7 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Gift of Jean-Luc Baroni and Colnaghi, in honor of Jacob Bean, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.229.1


This image of an artist carving a work that dwarfs him while a trumpeter plays is one of numerous autobiographical drawings the Swedish sculptor Ehrensvärd made throughout his career that reveal both the convivial and the melancholy sides of his personality. While it encapsulates the Piranesi-esque idea of modern man overwhelmed by the magnitude of the monuments of antiquity, Ehrensvärd's drawing is less histrionic in tone.