Aristomenes Mourning the Death of Socrates from the Bewitchment of Meroë (from Book 1 of Apuleius, "The Golden Ass")

Aristomenes Mourning the Death of Socrates from the Bewitchment of Meroë (from Book 1 of Apuleius, "The Golden Ass")

1795

Antoine-Denis Chaudet

(French, 1763-1810)

Brush and black and gray wash, heightened with white gouache, over graphite

Support: Light gray wove paper

Sheet: 27.9 x 21.3 cm (11 x 8 3/8 in.); Image: 19.8 x 10.3 cm (7 13/16 x 4 1/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.374

Description

This scene represents the end of a complex episode from the Roman writer Apuleius's (2nd century ad) story The Golden Ass. Aristomenes narrates a tale to the book's main character, Lucius, about a friend named Socrates, whom he meets during his travels. After a disastrous affair with a witch named Meroë, Socrates dies from a wound she inflicts to his throat, and the scene shown here is the moment just after his death. Chaudet is mainly known as a sculptor, but he also designed a number of book illustrations for the most important publisher of the neoclassic period, the Didot firm. Although we know he did a number of drawings for The Golden Ass, the project was never realized as a book.

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