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Study for Charles V at the Monastery of Yuste

Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)

@ RMN / J-G. Berizzi

Eugène Delacroix

Purchased, 1994
H. 0,170 m ; L. 0,210 m

This drawing is a study for a small canvas, Charles V at the Monastery of Yuste, painted in 1837, and part of the museum’s collection. Charles V abdicated from power and retired to the Monastery of Yuste in Extremadura in 1557. He is depicted playing the organ while a young monk listens to him from outside the window.

The composition of the drawing is very similar to that of the painting. The museum has another preparatory study for the 1837 painting.


In this preparatory study for the 1837 painting, made for his student and friend Elisabeth Boulanger-Cavé (1809-after 1875), Delacroix sketched the positions of the figures and their expressions - meditative for the musician, attentive and dreamy for the listening monk. Overall, the final composition is similar to that of the drawing. The painting depicts a less meditative Charles V, as if turned toward the viewer, while the small monk seems to burst through the window, while the drawing represents him at the edge of the window, his head leaning on his hand. The overturned watering can in the foreground does not appear in the painting.

The museum has another small and very quickly sketched preparatory study for this same painting, along with two drawings related to the first version of this theme. The composition of this earlier canvas, painted in 1831 in a larger format (private collection, England), is quite different: the monk listening to Charles V playing is standing to the left, watching the emperor attentively.


Philippe Burty, Catalogue de la vente qui aura lieu par suite du décès d’Eugène Delacroix, Hôtel Drouot [les 17,18 et 19 février 1864], Paris : Imprimerie de J. Claye, 1864, n° 325

Arlette Sérullaz, « Acquisitions », in Revue du Louvre, 1997, 3, notice, p.215.

Lee Johnson, « Eugène Delacroix et Charles V », in The Burlington Magazine, septembre 2000, p. 544-548.

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