Design for a Wall, the Main Black-ground Panel Centred by a Female Figure below a Pediment Flanked by Terms and a Pair of Torchères
François-Joseph Bélanger was a French architect and landscape designer. He had a distinguished career as a royal architect at the courts of Louis XV and Louis XVI. Although his fame rests on his accomplishments as a landscape architect, his mercurial talents are perhaps best characterized in his drawings for interior decoration and court festivals. Between 1786 and 1788, Bélanger built three houses on the Rue St Georges for his future wife, Mlle Delvieux, and a hôtel for the financier M. Wegmerange. It is likely during that timeframe that he made the current drawing. Bélanger’s wall panel contains an array of decorative details. Several figures adorn the composition, including mythical creatures and humans, and the hybrid columns with the heads of females, reminiscent of Greek caryatids, add a playful element to the design. The use of watercolour lends the drawing elegance and articulates the central panel. This work exemplifies Bélanger’s talent as a decorator specializing in stage scenery for ornate festivities.