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Francis Hayman RA, Reclining male nude; a study for 'The Good Samaritan'

Reclining male nude; a study for 'The Good Samaritan', c. 1751

Francis Hayman RA (1708 - 1776)

RA Collection: Art

A large black and white chalk drawing of a male nude in a precariously-balanced reclining pose. The position of the model is unusual and relates specifically to a figure in Hayman's painting 'The Good Samaritan' (1751-2; Yale Center for British Art) originally part of the decorative scheme at Cusworth Hall, Doncaster. The drawing is a preparatory study for the figure of the man assisted by the Samaritan. Hayman was paid for this painting in March 1752 suggesting that it was finished by this date and that this preparatory drawing was therefore produced in the early stages of its development, c 1750-51.

Although it is a preparatory drawing for a specific painting, this drawing of a nude figure supported on blocks and blankets is clearly also a product of the life room. Given Hayman's activities as an instructor at the second St. Martin's Lane Academy, it seems very likely that this study was produced there. George Vertue recalled that Hayman was among one of the leading teachers at the St. Martin's Lane Academy life class in the 1740s and 50s, along with George Michael Moser, Hubert Gravelot and others.

It has been noted that the figures in Hayman's paintings are sometimes unconvincing, or, as Horace Walpole put it, 'easily distinguishable by their large noses and shambling legs' (Allen, p. 26). However, as Brian Allen points out, this drawing displays a high level of anatomical knowledge.

Further reading:

Brian Allen, Francis Hayman, New Haven and London, 1987, cat. no. 70, p. 139

Object details

Reclining male nude; a study for 'The Good Samaritan'
Francis Hayman RA (1708 - 1776)
c. 1751
Object type
Black and white chalk on brown laid paper

420 mm x 538 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
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