François-Marius Granet (1775 - 1849)

The Cloister of an Italian Monastery Sold

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, with touches of watercolour.
Signed Granet in the lower left margin.
117 x 141 mm. (4 5/8 x 5 1/2 in.) [sheet]

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This watercolour dates from Granet’s long stay in Italy, when he produced a large number of drawings, sketches and watercolours. He was never happier than when wandering about Rome, sketchbook in hand: ‘Young, healthy, busy, what circumstances could be finer or more desirable? And so my happiness lacked nothing. I would work the whole week through, sometimes in a square, another time in a cloister or under a palace portico.’

Although he completed many finished watercolour views of the city and its environs - he recalls bringing about a hundred such studies back to Paris in 1824 - Granet does not appear to have ever exhibited these works. Executed with transparent layers of ink and wash, this drawing captures a tranquil moment in the busy life of Rome. Granet seems to have sought out quiet, unpopulated scenes away from the hustle and bustle of the city itself, and this drawing, like most of his landscape studies, has a particular calm, atmospheric quality that exemplifies the scholar Henri Focillon’s apt description of the artist as a ‘true poet of meditative light’.

Of slightly smaller dimensions than most of the artist’s independent watercolours, the drawing may once have been part of a sketchbook.

François-Marius GRANET

The Cloister of an Italian Monastery

376

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