Thursday, 15 September 2016

Charbonnel's etching, “La Cigale”

Jean Louis Charbonnel (1854–85)
“La Cigale”, 1873, printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822–1907)
Etching on laid paper
Size: (sheet) 27.5 x 19 cm; (plate) 15.6 x 11.1 cm

Note that Idburyprints offers a fine description of this etching and where it was published:

Condition: superb impression with generous margins in near pristine condition (there are a few marks verso).

I am selling this very desirable etching of a figure in an Ingres-like pose for AU$93 in total (currently US$69.64/EUR61.83/GBP52.76 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this etching, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

The subject of this print fascinates me. My interest is not so much about the nude lady with her broken lute, nor am I particularly intrigued by the circumstances that have arisen leading to her predicament of being unclothed with a broken lute looking at a distant house with smoke coming out of its chimney. Instead, I am baffled about the title of the etching: “La Cigale” (the cricket/cicada/grasshopper). All I can think of, in terms of proposing a meaning, is the fable of La Fontaine, "La Cigale et la Fourmi” (the cricket and the ant). At this point I struggle with finding a meaningful connection, but, as an attempt, I guess the moral overtone is that this lady has been neglecting her household duties and has been ostracised by the town folk. I realise that I am hopelessly out of my depth in reading literary meanings into artworks and so any help is welcome as my concocted meaning is so dreadful.

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