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French School
mid-eighteenth century
Landscape capriccio with figures
Black chalk and brown wash on grey paper
Given by Professor Paul Joannides in memory of his friend, Philip Conisbee, 2008

The author of this spirited landscape drawing is unknown. It appears to have been inspired by the work of Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), whose wild landscapes had an important influence on eighteenth century painters, and on the developing taste for the 'sublime' (an aesthetic concept based on emotional responses to awe-inspiring, as opposed to simply 'beautiful' landscapes).

The gift of this drawing is a homage paid by one distinguished scholar of French painting to another. Philip Conisbee taught at Leicester University before following a curatorial career in the United States, latterly as Chief Curator of European Paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He published widely on eighteenth-century French painting, and was an authority on the works of Claude Joseph Vernet (1714-1789), whose drawing style this sheet also vaguely recalls.


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