Jean Baptiste Greuze / Head of Caracalla / c. 1768Jean Baptiste Greuze
Head of Caracalla
c. 1768

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Creator Name: Greuze, Jean-Baptiste
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1725 - 1805
Gender: M
Creator Name-CRT: Jean Baptiste Greuze
Title: Head of Caracalla
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1763
Creation End Date: 1773
Creation Date: c. 1768
Object Type: Drawings and Watercolors
Materials and Techniques: red chalk; framing lines in brown ink
Dimensions: Sheet: 38.8cm x 30.3cm, Secondary Support: 45.6cm x 37.1cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1999.48
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
Provenance: according to Spink-Leger Pictures: M. & Mme. Jules Porges, 1892; Countess Fitzjames, Paris; Schab Gallery, New York; Julian Raskin, Scarsdale, New York, acquired in 1956; and by descent
Context: Jean-Baptiste Greuze drew this powerful chalk study in preparation for his painting Septimius Severus Reproaching Caracalla (1768-69, Musée du Louvre). Caracalla (ad 188-217) plotted the assassination of his father, the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. In the painting, Greuze depicted the moment when the father confronted the son, and we see a close up view in this drawing: Caracalla turns away from his father, his face reflecting both anger and shame. Greuze was fascinated by the subtleties of human emotional expression conveyed by the face and made many drawings of "expressive heads" (a genre the French call a tête d'expression). Greuze based his Caracalla on a famous Roman bust in marble, which the artist would have seen when he studied in Rome between 1755 and 1757. He also knew a plaster cast of the bust and even made drawings directly from it in preparation for the painting. The drawing shown here, however, represents his own adaptation of the Caracalla, striking in its intensity of expression and bold strokes of red chalk.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1999.48
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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