Study of a Bearded, Hunched Man Carrying Books

WAG 1995.347


This is one of the many preparatory drawings by Le Sueur for individual figures in his painting "St. Paul preaching at Ephesus," which is in Musée de Louvre in Paris, and a copy of which at the National Gallery in London. It shows a middle-aged man with a full head of hair and dark beard, who is carrying books and a parchment rolls to a bonfire, as preached by St. Paul to burn all their pagan books. He is carrying the books in both hands but appears unbalanced and about to drop them. This figure is stooped, walking to the left, and draped over his head, shoulders and arms. The drapery folds on his arm and the parchment roll are highlighted in white to give the figure greater depth.