jean françois pierre peyron
(1744 Aix – 1814 Paris)

Socrates Tears Alcibiades from the Embrace of Sensual Pleasure. Two drawings in pen and black ink over graphite, grey wash, on a single sheet within a double framingline. 21.7 x 15.1 cm. Signed: Peyron.

Pierre Peyron was trained by Louis Lagrenée at the Académie Royale in Paris, where he was considered very gifted and, together with Vien, was one of the first artists in pre-revolutionary France to abandon the prevailing taste for Rococo and introduce a Neoclassicist vocabulary. In 1773 Peyron won the prestigious "Prix de Rome", one of the contenders for which was Jacques Louis David. In the years 1775 to 1782 the artist lived and worked as a pensionnaire of the Académie de France in Rome. After his return to Paris Peyron’s artistic activity was completely overshadowed by the spectacular fame of the only slightly younger David. Peyron, who had been appointed director of the Gobelin manufactory in 1787, receded increasingly into the background and ceased to work as an artist after 1789. Yet all his life he exercised an important influence on Jacques Louis David who, upon hearing of the death of Peyron, is reported to have uttered the oft-quoted words: "Il m’a ouvert les yeux!"

The two present works are preliminary drawings for the painting Socrate détachant Alcibiade des charmes de la volupté done in 1782 (see Pierre Rosenberg, Udolpho van de Sandt, Pierre Peyron 1744–1814, Neuilly-sur-Seine 1983, p.102 ff).