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Detail of the Diagorides Victors
On 1 May, 1795, Barry published three details from the two largest paintings in the Royal Society of Arts series. This one is from The Crowning of the Victors…He felt that these vast scenes could not be adequately reproduced in a single print. Furthermore, the details allowed him to make revisions in their design and content without altering the actual paintings. The figure group here is not only foregrounded, almost filling the entire sheet, but the figures themselves are more boldly defined than those in the main composition; sharper lines and additional areas of shading more closely describe both their musculature and their draperies. The artist’s Catholic interests are represented in a small inscription in Italian in which he dedicates the print to the papal government.
from Bindman, No Cross, No Crown: Prints by James Barry from the Collection of William L. and Nancy Pressly (Notre Dame, 2016)