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George Caleb Bingham created dozens of drawings as studies for his well-known paintings depicting Missouri life and politics. This drawing of a fiddler is a study for The Jolly Flatboatmen (1846; private collection), one of his most famous compositions. Bingham delineated the fiddler with a crisp, energetic outline. He then sensitively shaded the clothing, indicating both the mass of the fiddler’s body and the folds of the fabric. The space Bingham left between the ground line and the bottom of the fiddler’s boot anticipates the next beat of the music and animates the figure, who remains anonymous behind his hat.

Details

  • Title: Fiddler (study for The Jolly Flatboatmen) (recto)
  • Creator: George Caleb Bingham
  • Date Created: 1846
  • Physical Dimensions: w406.4 x h527.05 x d22.1 in (Framed)
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: Lent by the People of Missouri; acquired through the generosity of the Louis D. Beaumont Foundation, Lent by the People of Missouri; acquired through the generosity of the Louis D. Beaumont Foundation
  • Medium: Black India ink, wash, and pencil on rag paper
  • Culture: American

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