Graphite, pen and black and brown ink. Size of sheet: 24.2 x 19.8 cm. Signed V. Denon f. in brown ink and inscribed 21I D verso.
A scene of the Moliere play Monsieur de Pourceaugnac (act II, scene VIII) 1.
Julie, the daughter of Oronte is engaged to Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, a ridiculous Bourgeois from Limoges. In order to avoid the wedding, she plays several tricks together with her lover Eraste and two accomplices Nerine and Sbrigani.
The scene depicted in our drawing is one of the last deception, which will definitely ruin any chance of a wedding between Julie and Monsieur de Pourceaugnac.
Two women, Nerine and Lucette both pretend to be already married to Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. They act in front of Oronte, Julie’s father who can be seen at the right-hand side of the composition. Obviously, he is appalled about the situation. Furthermore, suddenly three children appear, seen at the background, calling Monsieur de Pourceaugnac their father: ‘Ah mon papa, mon papa, mon papa.’
Confused and full of shame, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac’s only way out is to dress in women’s clothes and to escape.
This delicate situation for Oronte is saved by the appearance of Eraste who proposes to marry Julie, and Oronte happily agrees.
Our drawing is preparatory to the smaller scale etching in reverse (T.I.B. 54).
1 Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, comédie: faite à Chambord, pour le divertissement du Roy, Paris, Jean Ribou, 1670, 136 p.