Gustave Doré

Illustration – A Practical Joke

Click on the image to enlarge. Navigate to the other images for the zoom lens option and different views of the drawing.

Identification & Creation

Catalogue Number:
08

Artist:
Gustave Doré (1832-1883)

Title:
Illustration – A Practical Joke

Work Type:
Drawing

Date:
19th Century

Culture:
French

Physical Description

Medium:
Graphite and white chalk on gray wove paper

Dimensions:
5 1/2 in. h X 8 3/4 in. w

Inscriptions & Annotations:
Signed G. Doré (graphite); Mount annotated Gustave Dore: French 1838-1883 / Burglars (graphite)

Verso:
Annotated Original / 48 (graphite)

Watermarks:
None

Condition:
Clean, intact, and stable

Acquisition & Rights

Credit Line:
Cornell College, Gift of Robert Sonnenschein II

Accession Year:
1951

Object Number:
1951.08

Description

Commentary:
Gustave Dore was a prolific illustrator in France. He started drawing at the young age of 11, and a few years later his work was published in a satirical magazine. His mother pushed his art because it helped the family financially. She thought her son was the greatest thing in the world and sent him on to formal art school. By the end of his lifetime, Dore had illustrated hundreds of home editions of classic novels and had several of his own comics published.

The scene of this drawing was previously thought to be a practical joke, but it seems to have a darker theme. Six figures cloaked in white surround a dressed man, holding his extremities and shining light into his face. A chair is tipped over to the side of the drawing, revealing the scene’s interior setting. This scene may be a commentary on hazing, which became popular by men’s societies in 19th century France.