Alexandre Louis Robert Millin du Perreux
Paris 1764 – 1843
An Interior view of the cave Saint-Michel d’eau-douce, in Callelongue
Inscribed Beaume ou grotte supérieure de St Michel d’Eau douce.
Watermark – Raison et objet.
Graphite, pen and black ink, brown wash.
238 x 310 mm – 9 3/8 x 12 3/16 in.
This cave near Marseille is a vast and deep tunnel divided into several vaulted rooms famous for their limestone concretions. Rainwater runs into it forming a reservoir of fresh water. It has long been named Baume Sourne (Provençal for “dark cave”). A nearby cave housed hermits in the 14th – 18th century, which explains the construction of a troglodyte chapel called Saint-Michel-d´eau-douce, which no longer exists.
This spectacular site offers a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea which could not but strike the imagination of Millin du Perreux, a pupil of Valenciennes, who travelled to Switzerland, Italy and Spain and stayed in the Pyrenees. He offers here a romantic view of this site, exaggerating the height of the cave and amplifying the sense of human smallness in front of the beauty of nature.
Condition report – A small tear on the left-hand side near the inscription. Foxing on the verso. Remains of a former mount on the verso. Abrasions in the upper part of the sheet.