Departure of Soldiers to a Battle


Originally, this unsigned wash drawing of soldiers leaving for battle was attributed to Johann-Philipp Lembke, but it is now considered to be the work of Jacques Courtois (1621-76). Courtois was a French painter who lived most of his life in Italy; he is also known as Il Borgognone. Following his training as an artist, Courtois served in the French military. He is widely recognized for his depictions of battles, often done in wash drawing. This style, which is produced by applying a series of monochrome washes over a pen or pencil outline, was very popular with 17th-century landscape painters. The pen defines the image, while the washes provide depth. The drawing is from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library, the foremost American collection devoted to the history and iconography of soldiers and soldiering, and one of the world’s largest collections devoted to the study of military and naval uniforms.

Last updated: September 18, 2015