General Bonchamps Shown in a Pose Designed for His Tomb (recto), 1824
Graphite, pen, and brown ink (recto); graphite (verso)
21.4 x 28 cm
Signed lower right
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York;
Purchase, Karen B. Cohen Gift, 1989 (1989.286.1)
A prolific draftsman, David often made multiple preliminary sketches for his sculptures. This schematic drawing outlines the composition of his Monument to Bonchamps (1824), a reduced bronze version of which is exhibited nearby. David references an ancient Greek sculpture of a river god from the recently discovered Elgin marbles (British Museum), which he had seen in London in 1816 (see below). He transforms that languidly reclining figure with the addition of a raised arm and a more upright orientation of the torso, a preview of the expressive urgency and instantaneity that characterize the finished statue.
Monument to Bonchamps, 1824
Bronze 19.7 x 22.9 x 14 cm Inscribed on front of base, Grâce pour les prisonniers, Bonchamp le veut; on rear of base, Froment-Meurice ciseleur à son ami Wasselin Desfosses 14 Juin 1854 Collection Dr. and Mrs. Michael Schlossberg
This statuette is a reduced version of David’s marble statue commemorating Charles-Artus de Bonchamps (1760– 1793), a royalist general who died in the aftermath of the French Revolution (Church of Saint Florent-le-Vieil, Maineet- Loire). A critical success at the Paris Salon of 1824, the sculpture depicts the mortally wounded general delivering his last words: a command for his troops to spare the lives of their Republican prisoners. The subject held personal significance for David, whose father had been among the captured soldiers. Produced by the famous Parisian goldsmith François-Désiré Froment- Meurice (1802–1855), the statuette was reportedly first commissioned in silver by the women of Anjou as a gift for Louise d’Artois, Duchess of Parma (1819–1864).