Three Putti in Clouds

WAG 2517


This is a copy of a Boucher drawing which was with P & D Colnaghi in 1950. It was exhibited in the art dealer's "Old Master Drawings Exhibition," 18 April to 26 May 1950, plate XIII, and soon after that, went into an American private collection. It was listed in the 1977 Christie's sale catalogue [5th April] as lot 135, datable about 1745. This original drawing was engraved as plate 1 of "Cinquième Livre de grouppes d'enfans Inventées par F. Boucher et Gravé par Huquier Fils. Boucher's original drawing is a heroic narrative of the mercifulness of the Roman general Scipio Africanus. It is a drawing in brown chalk, brush and browh wash, a fully worked-up compositional study made in preparation for an aborted commission from King Stanislav Poniatowski of Poland in 1766, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York [a Joseph Pulitzer bequest in 1966]. [ See] WAG 2517 is a copy of the top half of the Boucher drawing, concentrating on the three putti who are hovering above the scene below, in which the Roman general Scipio Africanus is returning a young female prisoner to her fiance, refusing a generous ransom for her.