Sheet: 15.2 x 11 cm (6 x 4 5/16 inches)
Museum purchase: Esther Mauran Acquisitions Fund and gift of Ambassador J. W. Middendorf II and Frances Middendorf
Against a stream of light piercing a long dark corridor, a monk is seen from behind. Executed in pen and ink and wash, the drawing is striking for its masterful command of the medium and palpable sense of mystery.
In both style and subject, the work is typical of Granet, a French painter who spent 22 years in Rome. His ability to create lyrical light effects was admired by Jacques Louis David—with whom Granet briefly studied—as well as by his fellow artists and friends Jean August Dominique Ingres and Antonio Canova. Granet reveals a Romantic taste for the Middle Ages that followed the French Catholic revival, a reaction to anticlerical sentiment unleashed by the French Revolution.