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1911

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Drawing, Fountain Design with Three Bronze Animals

This is a Drawing. It was created by Charles Le Brun. We acquired it in 1911. Its medium is chalk, brush and gray wash on laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Three ferocious looking animals inhabit this sheet of chalk drawings. A dragon, lion and Cerberus, a three-headed hound from classical mythology, all bare their teeth menacingly. These lively sketches have the loose, expressive quality of an artist laying down a preliminary idea. They were likely made as part of a bas relief design for a bronze garden fountain. Charles Le Brun, who is known primarily for Versailles interior decoration, also made an enormous contribution to the decoration of the palace’s gardens. Le Brun enlivened the formal gardens laid out by landscape designer André Le Nôtre with a profusion of statuary and fountains. The famous labyrinth of Versailles was a hedge maze with groups of sculptural fountains depicting animals from Aesop's fables. Here, the lion’s appearance is fiercely exagerated. Le Brun developed a theory of expression which examined animal physiology. He identifies the lion’s large brow as a sign of courage and strength.

This object was donated by Advisory Council.

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Cite this object as

Drawing, Fountain Design with Three Bronze Animals; Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–1690); France; chalk, brush and gray wash on laid paper; 1911-28-6

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18172609/ |title=Drawing, Fountain Design with Three Bronze Animals |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 November 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>