Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 50. A pair of mythological scenes: A) Diana and Acteon; B) Venus and Adonis.

Louis de Boullogne the Younger

A pair of mythological scenes: A) Diana and Acteon; B) Venus and Adonis

Auction Closed

January 26, 04:31 PM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 USD

Lot Details


Louis de Boullogne the Younger

Paris 1654 - 1733

A pair of mythological scenes:

A) Diana and Acteon;

B) Venus and Adonis

Both black chalk and stumping heightened with a white chalk on blue paper, washed/prepared light blue

A) 455 by 550 mm; 17⅜ by 22¼ in.

B) 440 by 565 mm; 18 5/16 by 21⅞ in.


Louis de Boullogne was appointed Assistant Professor at the Académie Royale in 1690, rising to full Professor in 1694 and eventually becoming Director in 1722. During his time teaching at the Academy he placed great emphasis on drawing from the model, and this is reflected in the number of academy studies from his hand that survive today. A group of 163 drawings, originating from the artist's studio, were acquired by the Louvre from M. Defer in 1846; these drawings present a clear overview of Louis de Boullogne's style.1

While the artist's academy studies appear on the market with some frequency, Boullogne's much rarer drawings of mythological subjects are also an important part of his œuvre. These two lively and animated drawings, executed in his preferred media of black and white chalk on blue paper, are outstanding examples of his accomplished and ambitious compositional works.

Another drawing illustrating Diana and Acteon, with a very similar compositional layout, is in the collection of the Musée du Louvre, Paris. In Helene Guicharnaud's catalogue entry for the drawing in the Louvre, she suggests it may relate to a lost painting of circa 1707. The Louvre drawing is sketchier and more freely executed than the present work, which may signify that it represents an earlier stage in the design process. Due to the highly finished nature of the present Diana and Acteon (and its pair in this lot, Venus and Adonis) they could both be regarded as works of art in their own right, but perhaps, if indeed connected with a painted commission, could have been presentation drawings for a patron.

Although no finished paintings by Boullogne himself relating to these two drawings have so far been identified, versions of both compositions from the artist's circle, or by a follower, are known, attesting to the significance of these designs within Louis de Boullogne's œuvre.3  

1. H. Guicharnaud, Louis de Boullogne, exhib. cat., Paris, Musée du Louvre, 2011

2. Ibid., no. 33, reproduced fig. 33

3. Diana and Acteon, sale, Paris, Aguttes, 18 June 2013, lot 69 (as Follower of Louis de Boullogne); Venus and Adonis, sale, London, Christie's South Kensington, 9 December 2001, lot 125 (as Circle of Louis de Boullogne)