In a famous, perhaps apocryphal story meant to illustrate the great ruler's generosity, the court painter Apelles fell in love with Alexander the Great's favorite concubine Campaspe while sketching her. As a mark of appreciation for the painter's work, Alexander gave her to him as a present. In this scene Apelles responds to his master with enthusiasm and gratitude, while Campaspe modestly clutches her drapery and gazes at the floor.

Jérôme-Martin Langlois made this highly polished drawing in preparation for a painting that achieved great success at the Paris Salon of 1819. Using nearly invisible strokes, he expressed the varied textures of leopard skin and marble walls under a clear, cool light. As with many Neoclassical French painters, Langlois chose a classical subject and an austere setting as a moral lesson for his own time.


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