Unknown French Artist
Two Allegorical Female Figures in a Landscape with Classical Architecture in Ruin (Rome Implores the Assistance of Minerva)
Although this drawing remains unattributed, it is an engaging work of art. The artist chose to focus on a captivating exchange between two allegorical figures, enabling him/her to explore expressive gestures. The personification of Rome extends her arm towards Minerva as she kneels in front of the powerful goddess who is clad in armor. Rome leans on a shield that holds the abbreviation SPQR on it, which, in Latin, stands for the Senate and Roman people. Her facial expression conveys the candor of her plea. By leaning down towards Rome, it appears that Minerva will assist her counterpart. Minerva was a popular figure throughout the Roman Empire, but was worshipped foremost in Rome, where numerous temples were erected in her honour. The sketchy nature of the lines evoke movement, and reveal the artist’s way of thinking about different compositional elements before likely executing a painting of a similar subject.