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Médora. Lithograph. 24.5 x 32.7 cm. 1820-23. Béraldi 4; Inventaire du Fonds Français 1.
A painter, engraver and lithographer, Coupin de la Couperie was a pupil and intimate of Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson. He designed numerous patterns for the porcelain manufactory at Sèvres and was appointed professor of drawing at the military academies of La Flèche and Saint Cyr in 1815 and 1816. In the years 1812-1833 Coupin contributed historical paintings to the exhibitions of the Paris Salon. Like many French peintres-graveurs of his time Coupin also worked for François-Séraphin Delpech, a print publisher in Paris, whose business premises were at 23 Quai Voltaire.
Médora was one of four prints produced between 1820 and 1823 for Delpech’s Album lithographique. The subject refers to Lord Byron’s verse narrative The Corsair of 1814, an extremely popular and widely read work which was later adapted for Verdi’s opera Il Corsaro as well as a ballet by Adolphe Adam. Medora, the wife of the corsair Conrado, will die of grief for the husband she believes lost during his journey of conquest. Her wistful gaze towards the turbulent sea and her billowing veils symbolise her train of thought. The name Conrado has been chiselled in Greek letters into the rock in the background. A superb, contrasting impression before letters. Minimal traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.