The present drawing is a study for a frontispiece to a presumably unpublished book, 'L'Histoire des Médailles Antiques et Modernes’. It was commonplace throughout the 17th and 18th centuries for frontispieces in books about medals to illustrate the parallel between the Roman Empire and the French Monarchy. Another frontispiece design, possibly a variant for the same unpublished book, signed by Pierre-Paul Sevin, is in the Bibliothèque National de France.1 Both compositions, structured in a similar manner, portray Rome through the inclusion of well-known monuments, for example the Coliseum, Trajan’s column and various obelisks, these emblems of The Eternal City filling the background of both drawings. France is represented in both studies by the inclusion of a crowned seated female figure on her throne to the right of the composition and History is characterised by the female figure, to the left of the drawing, writing in a large book.
For two other stylistically comparable drawings by Sevin, see B. Brejon de Lavergnée, Dessins Français du XVIIe siècle, exhib. cat., Bibliothèque National de France, 2014, nos. 87 and 88
1. T. Sarmant. 'Roma Triumphans Les Frontispieces des Livres de Médailles aux XVIIe et XVIIIe Siècles', in Bibliothèque de L’École des Chartes, Vol. 158, no 1, 2000, fig. 6
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