Napoleon Bonaparte and his epoch
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Wicar Jean-Baptiste

Wicar Jean-Baptiste  (17621834)

Jean-Baptiste Wicar a draftsman much praised by his master, Jacques-Louis David, was among the most discerning and effective collectors of Italian drawings of his period. One of the first generation of Davids pupils, Wicar traveled to Italy with his master in 1784 and returned there in 1787. He lived in Florence between 1787 and 1793, executing drawings for a series of engravings of paintings in the citys galleries; the first volume was published in 1789. He created three successive collections of old master drawings. The first, formed in the 1790s, was in part stolen from him in 1799. A second, brought together beginning in 1801, was mostly disposed of to the English dealer Samuel Woodburn in 1823. The last was built up between 1824, when Wicar recovered many of the drawings stolen twenty-five years earlier, and his death in 1834. He bequeathed his old masters to the museum of his home town, Lille, while leaving many of his own drawings elsewhere. The three collections, therefore, were not entirely separate but overlapped. His group of Raphael drawings is our main concern here.

Ajman, 1970, Four brothers of Napoleon


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