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Study for "The Beheading of St. John the Baptist"

Charles Sprague Pearce

American Art

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.
MEDIUM Crayon on paper
DATES ca. 1881
DIMENSIONS sheet: 6 1/8 × 7 in. (15.6 × 17.8 cm) frame: 15 3/8 × 20 3/8 × 1 3/4 in. (39.1 × 51.8 × 4.4 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"
CREDIT LINE Gift of Sidney M. Katz
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Black crayon (probably Conté) on cream, medium-weight, moderately textured laid paper
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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 × 7 in. (15.6 × 17.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Sidney M. Katz, 85.243.2 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 85.243.2_PS4.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 85.243.2_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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