Charles Bargue (French, 1826/7–1883)
Angel Blowing a Trumpet (after Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, Sistine Chapel)
From the Drawing Course (Cours de Dessin). “Part II: Copying Master Drawings (Modèles d’après les Maîtres),” plate II, 1. Paris: Goupil & Cie, 1870.
Lithograph on gray paper, 23 7/8 x 18 1/2 in.
Stamped lower center: COURS de DESSIN II PARTIE MODÈLES d’APRÈS LES MAÎTRES, GOUPIL & Cie EDITEURS PARIS; Inscribed lower right: Lemercier et Cie Imp Paris
Before studying plaster casts or live models, art students usually tried to master the skill of drawing by copying two-dimensional images. They did so on their own or with teachers, with the help of manuals or drawing courses. One of the more famous drawing courses was compiled by the painter and lithographer Charles Bargue, in collaboration with the leading academician Jean-Léon Gérôme, and published by the art dealer Adolphe Goupil between 1868 and 1873. This Drawing Course (Cours de Dessin) contained 197 loose-leaved lithographs divided over three volumes, each focusing on a different area of practice.
The second volume of the Drawing Course reproduced paintings and drawings by old masters and contemporary artists. Works in this installment were selected for either their aesthetic merit or as prime examples of specific technical skills. Angel Blowing a Trumpet is an example of the style of the “Florentine School” (as noted in the inscription in the lower right corner of the lithograph) and depicts an “interpretation” of a figure from the great Renaissance master Michelangelo’s famous fresco of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel (1536–42, Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome).