Hercules, Sanguine (red chalk) on Paper, 18th Century
Sanguine (red chalk) drawing on laid paper
Hercules, hero of Greek mythology, son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene, is often depicted clad in a lion skin and carrying a club. These are symbols of his victory over the nasty lion of Nemea, the first of his Twelve Labors. Here Hercules is shown with his club, but without the lion skin. In fact, in this drawing Hercules was originally wearing nothing at all until a later and more prudish hand affixed a fig leaf over his private parts. The strong and muscular hero, half God, half mortal, looks none too pleased.
Red chalk or sanguine (from its red color) is the dry earth pigment red ferrous oxide which has been used in drawing for thousands of years. Its earliest artistic use was in drawing outlines in Egyptian tomb paintings and in Roman frescoes. After a fixative was discovered for it in 1480, sanguine became a very poplar medium. Leonardo da Vinci was probably the first major artist to use red chalk frequently, and during the 16th century in Europe, red chalk became very popular on its own and also in combination with black and other chalks. The Italian artist Andrea del Sarto may have popularized the use of red chalk during his stay in Paris in 1518, and by the 18th century it was in wide use in France.
FRAMED: HEIGHT: 31 in | WIDTH: 26¼ in
UNFRAMED: HEIGHT: 22 in | WIDTH: 16½ in
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CONDITION: Framed using all acid-free materials and Conservation Clear Glass