A View of Civita Castellana (reco) ; Cascata delle Marmore, in Terni (verso)
Black chalk. Inscribed C. Castellano on the top.
309 x 236 mm – 12 3/16 x 9 5/16 in.
Trained in Bordeaux in the workshop of a medal and fine stone engraver, Pierre Lacour befriended Jean-Joseph Taillasson, another significant painter from Bordeaux. They both went to Paris to improve their skills and in June 1764 entered the workshop of Joseph Marie Vien, the painter then in vogue. Admitted to compete for the Grand Prize of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture for three consecutive years, Lacour succeeded in winning the second prize in 1769. He managed to obtain a commission, that the decorator Deleuze entrusted him with, for the execution of the figures in the stage design for the Théâtre Favart, as well as a commission for the painting for the choir of the Cathedral of Lisieux. These commissions allowed him to afford a trip to Italy the following year. During this trip, he kept a diary recording his visits and impressions. From Rome, he sent some works to the Academy of Bordeaux that agreed to admit him for the presentation of a reception piece.
Back in Bordeaux, the artist quickly achieved success in fashionable Bordeaux society. François Armand de Saige, General Counsel to the parliament of Bordeaux and future Mayor, commissioned eight large history paintings to Lacour for the decoration of the gallery in his mansion (now the Prefecture). Pierre-Paul Nairac, ship owner and refiner, commissioned a portrait that he intended to place in his new hôtel particulier built by Victor Louis. In 1775 Lacour presented his reception piece to the Academy that received him as an artist and amateur. He made his career there until it was closed and even opened a School of Drawing. The commissions started coming in and the artist enjoyed a full and successful career even at the outbreak of the Revolution. After these troubled times, he was one of the founders of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1801, created from the collection of the former academy and with the contribution of the state.
Like the other drawing by Lacour on our website, this sheet comes from a group formerly on the art market. Unlike most of the drawings of this group, this one does not bear any of the inscriptions usually found of these sheets (P. Lacour pf or A. Lacour) but its draughtsmanship is very close to many of the drawings of this group, which were probably all in Pierre Lacour’s studio and were shared between his sons Antoine, a very little-known miniaturist, and Pierre, a painter and engraver passionate about Ancient Egypt. The inscription C. Castellano refers to Civita Castellana, a fortified town in the province of Viterbo. The artist represented the Forte Sangallo built by Antonio Sangallo il Vecchio and his nephew of the same name. On the verso, the study of a waterfall is particularly close to the Cascata delle Marmore in Terni, often represented by artists such as Louis François Cassas, Salomon Corrodi, and Carlo Labruzzi or instance.
Condition report: The sheet is in a mount. The four edges of the verso are pasted by strips of paper. A few holes on the edges, maybe from former binding in a sketchbook. A few minuscule studio stains. Recto and verso are in good condition, the black chalk is clear and strong.