Parisina's Sleep - Study for Prince Azo and Parisina
Accession number: 1927P355
Black chalk on buff paper, laid down.
Width: 418 mm
Height: 415 mm
This is one of three studies in the Birmingham collection for the painting 'Parisina's Sleep' (now lost). They were made in 1842 when Brown was living in Paris. The picture was based on a poem of the same name by Byron which tells the tale of Prince Azo who executed his wife, Parisina, after discovering her adulterous affair with his illegitimate son, Hugo. The scene Brown chose to depict is the one in which Prince Azo first hears Parisina talk of Hugo in her sleep. In his rage he contemplates murdering her. The painting was rejected from the Paris Salon ion 1843 but it was exhibited at the British Institution two years later where it received some admiration. This study gives a good idea of the composition. Prince Azo is bending over Parisina contemplating killing her as she sleeps. The pencil sketch for a woman lying on her back but her head raised to the right of the main study suggests that Brown may still have been experimenting with poses at this point. LM
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