Death of Absalom


(Florence 1772 – Milan 1850)

Death of Absalom, Recto and verso
Pen on paper, 7.9 × 10.7 in

With hair fatally entangled in the branch of a terebinth tree, Absalom “suspended between the earth and sky”, is about to die stabbed by one of Joab’s lances (2 Sam 13; 18, 5).
The drawing, translating the biblical passage with philological clarity, restores the intense drama of the episode with a sure, fast and confident stroke and with a thoughtful use of luminous contrasts-or, better, of the “stain”, to use the artist’s expression-capable of making obvious the terror of the protagonist conscious of his destiny, and the ferocity of the executioner. […]
On the back of the sheet, in the centre, a first idea for the bust of Joab is outlined in pen.

Excerpt of the expertise by Doc. Silvestra Bietoletti in the catalogue of the exhibition “Fascination and elegance in Neoclassical Art”, 2022.

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