Studies of Horses
Sebastien Leclerc (French 1637-1714)
Pen and ink on paper
Inscribed on verso “Sebastien LeClerc”
13 ¼ x 8 ¾ (18 x 15 ½ frame) inches
Provenance: J. A. Duval Le Camus (1814-1876)
Sébastien Leclerc was a French artist from the Duchy of Lorraine. He specialized in subtle reproductive drawings, etchings, and engravings of paintings; and worked mostly in Paris, where he was counseled by the King's painter, Charles Le Brun, to devote himself entirely to engraving. Leclerc joined the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1672 and taught perspective there. He worked for Louis XIV, being made "Graveur du Roi", doing engraving work for the royal house. Leclerc also engaged in periodic work as a technical draftsman and military engineer. He was granted the honorific cavaliere Romano by the Pope in 1706.
Of his reproductive engravings, the connoisseur and chronicler of artistic life, Pierre-Jean Mariette wrote:
"If there has ever been an engraver who rendered himself celebrated in his profession, and who extended his capabilities beyond ordinary bounds, that is, without fear of contradiction: Sébastien Le Clerc.”
For his talent at composition, Leclerc is counted among the best French artists of the 17th century. His catalog contains 3412 pieces—nearly all his own compositions. He is credited with a remarkable intelligence; a delicacy in engraving the smallest drawings; and a certain grandeur in his treatment of the most grand and lavish subjects. Leclerc is held as one of the most able French engravers.
Collections: Metropolitan Museum; British Museum; Philadelphia Museum.