Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Prud’hon’s Portrait of Constance Mayer

Portrait of Constance Mayer, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, black and white chalk drawing on toned paper
Portrait of Constance Mayer, Pierre-Paul Prud’hon

On WikiArt, large version here. Original is in the collection of the Louvre, though I can’t find a listing for it on the museum’s new website.

I had the pleasure of seeing this drawing in person at a show of Prud’hon’s work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art some years ago, and it is absolutely stunning.

The drawing is not large —perhaps 12×16″ if I remember correctly — done in black and white chalk on toned paper. Even among the much larger and strikingly beautiful figure drawings in the show, this small, intimate portrait was arresting.

The sensitivity of the drawing is remarkable, and Prud’hon’s affection for Mayer shines from it with an almost physical presence.

Mayer was Prud’hon’s pupil, later his contemporary, collaborator and companion. As beautiful and affectionate as the portrait is, the story of Prud’hon and Mayer is a tragic one, as recounted by James Abbott on The Jade Sphinx.

See my previous post on Pierre-paul Prud’hon.


5 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Prud’hon’s Portrait of Constance Mayer”

  1. Works like this make me think they should be called magicians instead of artists! It is really kind of magical to be able to take a sheet of paper and put a little chalk on it and end up with something so stunning. I hope I get a chance to see this one in person one day! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Hi Charley,

    amazing post as usual, thanks for sharing! Always a door to beauty and soul delight. Landscapes, characters, colors, technics…. all amazing authors!


    1. Thanks, Daniel.

      Other readers can check out Daniel Spontón’s artwork here: and here and my post here:

  3. Sander Heilig Avatar
    Sander Heilig

    Way back in art school days we did some old master copy work. The few available examples of Prud’hon taught me so much. I would have cleaned that guy’s floors to get a chance to look over his shoulder.

    1. Prud’hon has long been one of my favorites for figure drawing. He had such an amazing facility for presenting the form in subtle levels of value that were also supremely engaging textures in their own right. Astonishing. Of course, to the 20th century modernist establishment, he was a “mere academic artist”, hardly worthy of note (sigh).