- Museum number
Abigail before David; Abigail and her attendants at r, David on horseback with guards at l
Red chalk, with brown-grey and red wash
- Production date
Height: 182 millimetres
Width: 259 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- In Ann Sutherland Harris' 2001 review, she published a later treatment of this subject by Sacchi from the 1640s now in the collection of Dr Joseph Imbriglia in Pittsburg (illustrated as fig. 1 on p. 421).
Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Baroque Drawings', London, 1980, no. 8; N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 287; A. Sutherland Harris, review of Turner 'Roman Baroque Drawings', 'Master Drawings', 39, Winter 2001, p. 424
The bibliographical reference is to C. P. Landon, 'Annales du Musée et de l'École moderne des Beaux Arts', xvii, première collection, tome complémentaire, Paris, 1809, pp. 27-8, pls 9-10, where Licharie's painting of 'Abigail before David' is discussed, as well as cited in the index. The second reference is incorrect, since Licharie's painting does not feature in the indices of vol. II of the 'Salon of 1808'. The old attribution to the French painter, Louis Licherie de Beuron (1629-87), a pupil of Charles Le Brun, seems therefore to have arisen solely by virtue of the fact that the subject matter of the drawing is the same as Licherie's best-known work, his 'Abigail before David', painted in 1679 and now in the possession of the Louvre (inv. no. 6237), though long on deposit at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
The drawing entered the British Museum as the work of Andrea Camassei (q.v.), but was reattributed soon after to Sacchi by Ann Sutherland Harris. No painting of 'Abigail before David' by Sacchi is known. The style suggests a date in the late 1630s or the 1640s, and the composition shows knowledge of Pietro da Cortona's lost painting of the subject, painted in the late 1620s and known from an engraving by Benedetto Eredi (Merz, 1991, fig. 63), as well as Guercino's famous picture, now destroyed, formerly at Bridgewater House, London, painted in 1636 for Cardinal Antonio Barberini (Salerno, 1988, no. 161).
Literature: Harris, 1978, p. 601, n. 8; Turner, 1980, no. 8.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number