Study for "The Beheading of St. John the Baptist"
The expatriate artist Charles Sprague Pearce masterfully exploited the textured paper surface and powdery charcoal medium to create this beautifully modeled head study for a now-lost monumental painting (see illustration). Details such as the figure’s protruding collarbone, bags under the eye, and stoic gaze convey the character of Saint John the Baptist as a man whose faith remains unshakable in the face of physical suffering and imminent death.
- Artist: Charles Sprague Pearce, American, 1851-1914
- Medium: Crayon on paper
- Dates: ca. 1881
- Dimensions: sheet: 6 1/8 x 7 in. (15.6 x 17.8 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed in charcoal, lower left: "CSP" [in monogram]
- Inscriptions: Inscribed on recto lower left in charcoal: "Fragment"; on verso in center in graphite: "Decollation du St Jean / Baptiste / Charles Sprague Pearce"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 85.243.2
- Credit Line: Gift of Sidney M. Katz
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Charles Sprague Pearce (American, 1851-1914). Study for "The Beheading of St. John the Baptist," ca. 1881. Crayon on paper, sheet: 6 1/8 x 7 in. (15.6 x 17.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Sidney M. Katz, 85.243.2
- Catalogue Description: Black crayon (probably Conté) on cream, medium-weight, moderately textured laid paper
- Record Completeness: Best (86%)