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Thomas Jefferson's Proposed Gallery for Monticello

Below is a transcription of [[Thomas Jefferson|Thomas Jefferson's]] Proposed Gallery for Monticello (ca. 1771). It consists of nineteen works of art (mainly sculpture) that he desired to display in his Monticello home. According to Seymour Howard's Thomas Jefferson's Art Gallery for Monticello, this list of desiderata "reveals a conservative, but comprehensive and discriminating eclecticism, which was encouraged by the partial isolation he believed salutary." Howard, Seymour. Thomas Jefferson's Art Gallery for Monticello. The Art Bulletin. Dec. 1977. LIX(4): 583-600.

Although Jefferson desperately wanted a sculpture gallery at Monticello, it was, unfortunately, never realized--and none of the sculptures on his desiderata list were ever obtained.

Though it is not certain what sparked Jefferson's first interest in the visual arts and especially in works of classical and academic character, such as those in the following list, it is likely that his humanistic education and aristocratic development had much to do with such taste. In addition, Jefferson's four-year stay in [[Paris]], France (1784-1789), along with artistic advice from close friend Charles Bellini, who helped to inform Jefferson about the commerce in art works before his purchases for Monticello in Europe, had large impacts on his artistic taste and choices such as those listed below for Monticello.

Original image:

Editorial editions appear in brackets and italics:

[1] Venus of Medici. Florence
Apollo of Belvedere. Rome [crossed out]

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[2] Hercules Farnese. Rome [joined to 1 with a bracket]
[3] Apollo of Belvedere. Rome [interlineated]
[4] Antinous. Florence [joined to 3 with a bracket]

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[5] Dancing Fauns
[6] Messenger Pulling out a Thorn.
[7] Roman slave whetting his knife
[8] The Gladiator at Montalto.
[9] Myrmillo expiring. Rome
[10] The Gladiator reposing himself after the/engagement. (companion to the former.)
de terra cotta. [written as an addition in another ink vertically before the next three entries]
[11] Hercules and Antaeus. see Cheselden's anatomy
[12] the two wrestlers
[13] the Rape of the Sabines (3 figures)

[wide space]
[14] St Paul preaching at Athens.
[15] St Ignatius at prayer.
[16] Jephtha meeting his dautr.
[17] Sacrifice of Iphigenia.
[18] History of Seleucus giving his beloved wife Stra-/-tonice to his only son Seleucus who languished/for her. Florence.
[19] Diana Venatrix (see Spence's Polymetis)

[additions in another ink]
Bellini tells me that historical paintings on canvas 6.f by 12 f. will cost £15 sterl. If copd. by a good hand.

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Fresco painting of landscape or architecture/cost 4[?] ½ the sq. foot.

[horizontal line]
damask silk hangings cost 30/the sq. yard.

[the page is struck through with a diagonal line] This transcription is based on Seymour Howard's essay, Thomas Jefferson's Art Gallery for Monticello. Ibid.

Additional paintings admired by Jefferson not seen on list: The Stoning of St. Stephen (Le Sueur), Marcus Curtius Leaping into the Gulf (Mola), Horatius Cocles Defending the Bridge (Mola), and Susanna and the Elders (Rubens).




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