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Louis Jean Desprez 1743-1804
Chimera of Mr. Desprez
Etching, c.1770
Bought 1993

With this terrifying living carcass Desprez took artistic license with the three-headed 'she-goat' of Greek mythology. This Chimera devours its prey in a lair strewn with bones of past victims. The prone male figure, with one leg poking through a hip bone, seems part of the beast's body, giving her a more disturbing cannibalistic appearance. No wonder that in later a state a lengthy description was added to the print, reassuring the viewer with repeated use of the past tense: 'This Monster was always on the move: she had wings and fins ... it has taken a great number of armed soldiers with dogs trained in battle' to defeat her.


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