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Honoré-Victorin Daumier, 'Don Quixote and Sancho Panza', about 1855

Key facts
Full title Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
Artist Honoré-Victorin Daumier
Artist dates 1808 - 1879
Date made about 1855
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 40.3 × 64.1 cm
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917, The National Gallery, London. In partnership with Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
Inventory number NG3244
Location Room 44
Collection Main Collection
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
Honoré-Victorin Daumier

Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808–1879) often used Miguel de Cervantes’s comic novel Don Quixote as a source for paintings and drawings. These always feature Don Quixote himself, who is usually accompanied by his faithful companion, Sancho Panza. This picture probably depicts the incident when Don Quixote, on horseback in the centre of the painting, charges at a cloud of dust, which he has mistaken for two armies about to do battle. Sancho Panza, who sits on a mule on the right, drinks from a flagon, having explained to the Don that the dust is caused by flocks of sheep.

This small and almost monochrome oil painting on a wood panel is most likely a trial or preliminary sketch for a larger painting now in an American collection. Daumier’s profession as a caricaturist is evident in his use of swiftly sketched outlines and dramatic contrasts of light and dark to convey the essential components of the narrative without unnecessary detail.

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