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Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli

Recognized for his genre scenes of beautiful young men and women frolicking in lush landscapes, Jean-Honoré Fragonard also produced picturesque scenic views during his sojourn to Italy. After a period at the French Academy in Rome, he spent the summer of 1760 in Tivoli. Like many eighteenth-century artists, he gravitated toward the overgrown classical ruins in the gardens. In this drawing, the small circular Temple of the Sibyl (or Temple of Vesta) is nearly overshadowed by the vegetation that consumes almost half of the composition. Fragonard used a technique of pressing dampened paper over his chalk drawings to produce reversed counterproofs. However, rather than simply making duplicates, he heavily reworked the counterproofs in ink upon his return from Italy to create new images. The original of this drawing resides in the Musée de Besançon.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard
French, 1732–1806
Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli
ca. 1761
Brown ink and brown and gray ink wash over red chalk on paper
Image: 18 1/16 x 13 7/16 in. (45.9 x 34.1cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Evan F. Lilly Memorial, Gift of Thomas T. Solley, 77.54.2