Saint Receiving Monk's Habit

Abbé Jean-Claude-Richard de Saint-Non made this aquatint from a drawing by Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) of an altarpiece by Guercino in the church of San Gregorio in Bologna, Italy. While visiting Rome, Saint-Non invited Fragonard, then at the French Academy in Rome, to accompany him on a tour of northern Italy to visit sites of historic and artistic interest. Fragonard made more than 300 sketches, some of which Saint-Non used as a basis for prints that were issued in Paris between 1770 and 1774.
Saint-Non, a wealthy amateur etcher assisted by Jean-Baptiste Delafosse, a professional printmaker, invented a successful aquatint process in 1765. In this process, the artist dusts rosin powder onto a copper plate, which is heated to adhere the rosin. The plate is then etched in acid to create a rough surface that captures the ink to provide tonal areas in the print.
The painting by Guercino (1591–1666) shows Saint William dressed in armor putting on a monk’s habit before Saint Benedict of Aniane. Saint William, formerly the Duke of Aquitaine, had fought bravely against Moorish invaders in Spain and France, but in 806 he retired from the world to become a monk in the monastery he had founded.
Currently not on view
Date made
original artist
Fragonard, Jean-Honoré
graphic artist
Saint-Non, Jean Claude Richard de
original artist
Guercino, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 19.5 cm x 13.5 cm; 7 11/16 in x 5 5/16 in
plate: 20.5 cm x 15 cm; 8 1/16 in x 5 7/8 in
sheet: 33 cm x 47.5 cm; 13 in x 18 11/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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