Théodule-Augustin Ribot (French, 18231891)
In the Kitchen
Pencil, pen and ink on paper, 22 1/2 x 34 3/4 in.

In the Kitchen is probably an early drawing from Ribot’s career, as the composition seems far more detailed than his more typical realist paintings, whether still lifes or figure paintings. Perspective considers things not as they are, but as they appear to be. This drawing measures the size and placement of figures in a room seen at an angle rather than straight on. Such perspectival techniques developed in Renaissance Italy, and allowed images painted on a two-dimensional surface to appear to recede in space. Perspective was a necessary tool and, at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (although Ribot did not study there), students were required to win an award in a concours de perspective, or perspective competition.