The recto is a study for the figure of Chariclea in Dubois' painting of the Abduction of Chariclea now in the Museum at Fontainebleau (see exhibition catalogue, Paris, Grand Palais, 1972, op. cit. below, p. 83, cat. no. 83, reproduced p. 80). The painting is part of a series of subjects taken from Heliodorus's Aethiopica, with which Dubois decorated a room, usually now referred to as the Cabinet du Roi, at Fontainebleau. The Abduction of Chariclea was the seventh scene in the cycle, and shows Theagenes and his companions arriving to abduct the willing Chariclea. In the painting, Chariclea is in the arms of her suitor, so there are slight changes from her position in this study. However, the rest of her body, especially her head and right arm and drapery, are almost exactly the same.
The verso of this drawing was identified by Sylvie Béguin as a study for the figure of Chariclea in another painting in the series, the Repose of Theagenes (see exhibition catalogue, Paris, Petit Palais, 1965-66, op. cit. below, pp. 91-92). She also noted that the inscription Estrée was mistakenly interpreted as signifying that the subject was Gabrielle d'Estrée as Diana.
Several of Dubois' paintings from this series have survived and various drawings for them are known, mostly compositional studies (see, for example, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Grand Palais, 1972, op. cit. below, cat. nos. 87 and 88). The stories are taken from a Greek romance, written by Heliodorus in the 3rd century A.D. The text of this lively and exotic story was rediscovered in the early 16th century. A French translation was published in 1547 by Amyot and was popular well into the 17th century.
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