9/2/11

Paul Gustave Doré, Liberty


The Cleveland Museum of Art

Date: c. 1865-75
Technique: Brown wash and gray and white gouache with graphite on beige wove paper; 465 x 329 mm

Gustave Doré is best known for his skill as a draftsman (often seen in book illustrations), as well as for his sense of the fantastic and visionary. In the present drawing, his fluid washes and flowing lines of white add to the dramatic scene of a liberating angel breaking chains. The drawing relates to Doré's Defense of Paris (Memories of 1870), which treated an event from the recent Franco-Prussian War with a figure representing Liberty. A major difference between the painting and the drawing is that Doré represented soldiers in contemporary uniforms in the painting, but in the drawing of Liberty, he conceived a broader theme in which crowns and medieval costumes evoke an earlier time.

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