Charles Joseph Natoire

Charles-Joseph Natoire (1700–77)
The Life Class at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture
1746
Pen, black and brown ink, gray wash and watercolor, and traces of graphite, over black chalk
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Witt Bequest, 1952

As a history painter, Natoire was obliged to instruct students at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris; here he has depicted himself in a red cloak at lower left correcting a pupil’s drawing. Other students are shown making life studies from the two nude models posed on the table in the center. The paintings on the walls and casts of antique statues, including the Farnese Hercules seen from the back at left and the Medici Venus opposite, serve as venerable prototypes.