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1911

  • We acquired this object.

2006

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Drawing, Fountain Design with Three Bronze Animals, ca. 1670

This is a Drawing. It is dated ca. 1670 and we acquired it in 1911. Its medium is chalk, brush and gray wash on laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Three ferocious looking animals inhabit this sheet of chalk drawings. A dragon, lion and Cerberus, a three-headed hound from classical mythology, all bare their teeth menacingly. These lively sketches have the loose, expressive quality of an artist laying down a preliminary idea. They were likely made as part of a bas relief design for a bronze garden fountain. Charles Le Brun, who is known primarily for Versailles interior decoration, also made an enormous contribution to the decoration of the palace’s gardens. Le Brun enlivened the formal gardens laid out by landscape designer André Le Nôtre with a profusion of statuary and fountains. The famous labyrinth of Versailles was a hedge maze with groups of sculptural fountains depicting animals from Aesop's fables. Here, the lion’s appearance is fiercely exagerated. Le Brun developed a theory of expression which examined animal physiology. He identifies the lion’s large brow as a sign of courage and strength.

This object was catalogued by Karin Zonis. It is credited Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council.

Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.

  • Object ID #18565531
  • black chalk on off-white laid paper.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. John Innes Kane.
  • 1942-36-1

Its dimensions are

Sheet: 27.6 x 18.2 cm (10 7/8 x 7 3/16 in.) Mat: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.) Frame H x W x D: 50.2 x 39.7 x 2.5 cm (19 3/4 in. x 15 5/8 in. x 1 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamps: ph de Chennevieres [Lugt 2072]; The Cooper Union Museum [Lugt 645b]

It is inscribed

Recto: inscribed in brown ink, below dragon: 3 p 10 po bronze; below lion: 3pi; above three-headed creature: demi relief/3pied; below three-headed creature: au magazin du Roy/ au Vieux Louvre; verso: inscribed in graphite: Ces designs m'ont ete donnes par Horace/de Vielcaste. X bre 1859.

Cite this object as

Drawing, Fountain Design with Three Bronze Animals, ca. 1670; France; chalk, brush and gray wash on laid paper; Sheet: 27.6 x 18.2 cm (10 7/8 x 7 3/16 in.) Mat: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.) Frame H x W x D: 50.2 x 39.7 x 2.5 cm (19 3/4 in. x 15 5/8 in. x 1 in.); Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council; 1911-28-6

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

This object has no known Copyright restrictions.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18172609/ |title=Drawing, Fountain Design with Three Bronze Animals, ca. 1670 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 January 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>