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Sus le vin Sus l'Amour chacun a Son Sistême

(Enough of wine, enough of love, everyone to his own system)

Attributed to:
Saint-Aubin, Charles-Germain de (b.1721, d.1786)
Attributed to Style A
Date:
c 1740-c 1775 {nd}
Place of Production:
Paris, France
Medium:
watercolour, ink and graphite on paper
Accession number:
675.36
One of a set, see others

Commentary

Brief Description:

A smiling man rides a shaggy-haired white horse-like animal that runs from left to right. Both of the animal’s forelegs are raised off the ground and its mouth is open, revealing its teeth. A fodder bag hangs around the neck of the horse, which also carries a large wicker basket on its side.

The man on the animal's back has his right leg in the wicker basket, as if treading grapes. He holds the reins in his right hand while with his raised left hand he clasps the neck of a round-bodied wine bottle, which he holds upside down so that its contents spill from its mouth. The man is dressed in a light brown belted tunic with a white collar, blue breeches and red stockings. He wears a hat with a red brim trimmed in white, which is turned up on either side, and a blue crown that bends towards the right. Blue and red feathers unfurl to the left of the crown.

Curatorial Commentary

Both the mounted figure clutching a wine flask and his steed appear to be in dialogue with their counterparts on the facing page (675.37). The figure is standing in the carrier, crushing grapes, presumably during the wine-harvest, while the image on the opposite page evokes the first day of the year – another festive occasion, like the day of the Holy Innocents evoked in 675.35.

This drawing is in Style A, attributed to the principal author of the “Livre de Caricatures”, Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin. Style A displays a childish and naïve aesthetic and sometimes subject matter, and is characterised by crispness of execution, clear outlines and smooth application of colour. It is dominant in the early part of the book, from 675.3 to around 675.160. The opening inscription (675.1a) claims that the book was acquired from booksellers on the Paris quays in 1740 already containing drawings in another hand. The inscription states that ‘my friends put captions [underneath the drawings] and got me to continue this miscellany of follies’ (“mes amis y mirent des légendes et m’engagerent à continuer ce melange de folies”). This may be a tall story, explicable by Charles-Germain’s reluctance to admit authorship of the work. Charles-Germain was a versatile artist, and the possibility that he was responsible for the entire process in these initial drawings cannot be ruled out. In the drawings in the book not in Style A, Charles-Germain first made graphite sketches in much the same way. However it is possible that in the sections of the book dominated by Style A, Charles-Germain confined himself to working up existing graphite drawings, as well as adding details and also, with his friends’ assistance as he describes, the captions.

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
187 x 132
Inscriptions:
Sus le vin Sus l'Amour chacun a Son Sistême
Inscription
Inscribed by Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin, below image, in ink

36
Pagination
Top left corner, in ink
Translation of inscription
Enough of wine, enough of love, everyone to his own system
Underdrawing:
Pentimenti, around basket, in graphite; the outline of the man's right leg is visible beneath the basket.
Language:
French

History

Part of:
Livre de Caricatures tant bonnes que mauvaises. 675.1-389
Collection:
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957

Bibliography

Bibliography:

Colin Jones, Emily Richardson; Archaeology and materiality; Colin Jones, Juliet Carey, Emily Richardson, The Saint-Aubin Livre de caricatures: drawing satire in eighteenth-century Paris, Oxford, SVEC, 2012; 31-53; p. 51n

Indexed terms