A putto pursuing a butterfly

1 portrait

A putto pursuing a butterfly, by John Gibson, 1825 - NPG 3944(31) - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

A putto pursuing a butterfly

by John Gibson
pencil, 1825
7 1/4 in. x 9 3/8 in. (184 mm x 238 mm)
Purchased, 1955
Primary Collection
NPG 3944(31)


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Artistback to top

  • John Gibson (1790-1866), Sculptor. Artist associated with 12 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In Rome, meeting places such as the Caffé Greco or Joseph Severn's spacious studio provided the members of the nascent academy with communal spaces in which to exchange ideas about art. Yet however seriously the resident artists conducted themselves, their artwork did not always depict serious or lofty subjects; they could also be trivial and humorous, inspired by these artists' Italian surroundings. This drawing, signed by the sculptor John Gibson, is a light-hearted picture showing a putto triumphantly capturing a giant butterfly. Classically inspired, drawn in outline, with a putto shown in profile, this design resembles a relief sculpture.

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