France Thanking Heaven for the Recovery of Louis XV
30.4 cm x 20 cm (11 15/16 in. x 7 7/8 in.)
(Paris, 1694 - 1752, Paris)
Medium and Support:
Black and white chalks with brush and gray wash and touches of red chalk on cream antique laid paper
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
On a trip to Metz in 1744 Louis XV became so ill that he was thought to be perishing. Upon a seemingly miraculous recovery, Coypel, painter to the king, surprised the queen with a personification of France giving her thanks. Celebrated and immediately engraved, this picture remained in the queen’s antechamber at Versailles until around 1785, then moved to its actual location, the church at Clairvaux, in 1808. Hardly less pictorial in conception or exquisite in handling, this drawing was Coypel’s final study for what is probably a second drawn model, of about twice the size (Louvre), and in turn the painting. It is an outstanding example of the artist’s draftsmanship and of the persistent influence of Rubens over one tradition of French art.