Sunday, 10 March 2013

"A Morte de Cleópatra" (Cleopatra's Death) by Domingos Sequeira

Domingos Sequeira (1768-1837) is a key Portuguese painter of the late XVIII and early XIX centuries. A few years ago I found images of some of his drawings, including two preparatory studies for a painting representing Cleopatra's Death. This is held in storage by the main art state collection, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon and completely out of sight. I really like the drawings, representing Cleopatra and one of her maids, so for years I have searched for an image of the actual painting without much luck. A few days ago, while browsing the official website for images of state art collections, I finally lucky... You can judge for yourself.

The two drawings...
... and the painting.
Horrible, isn't it? All the fluidity and tridimensionality of the drawings is missing from the final work. This is something I often find with drawings: they are often better than the final paintings. Watteau is a case in point.

Images taken from the Matrizpix website.

1 comment:

Mariza Costa-Cabral said...

Excellent point you've made here! Undeniable that those drawings "have life in them", while the painting does not.