The 19th century
A second gallery under a glass roof allows visitors to enjoy 19th century artworks, also organized according to chronology and theme.
Historical and religious painting
The works in this first room are laid out according to historical subject, including a section of oriental and religious paintings, as well as sculptures.
The taste for history is witnessed by Dévéria’s large painting, La mort de Jeanne d’Arc, Dubois’ Marguerite d’Anjou attaquée par des brigands, or de l’Étang’s Clothilde demandée en mariage par Clovis.
Orientalism was a very popular trend in the 19th century, as witnessed here by works such as Arabe pleurant son coursier mort by Mauzaisse or Hariadan Barberousse by Delassus.
The beginning of the century also saw the emergence of a religious revival where compositions were executed in a neoclassical style: Hersent, Lehmann, Jérémie dictant ses prophéties or Signol, belonging to the Nazarene movement and author of Réveil du Juste, réveil du Méchant.
Guérin and Ingrès, both of whom acted as director of the Villa Medici in Rome are represented through sketches by their hand, in a little room of the museum. As well as two sketches for La Jalousie by Guérin, we can also admire his study for his grandiose La mort de Priam. This very large, unfinished canvas is exhibited in the last room of the Beaux-Arts collection of the museum.
Painters in Italy (1st half of the 19th century)
Landscape painting underwent a profound transformation in this period, brought about by social and cultural changes. A sojourn in Italy was an essential element in the education of French painters, whether or not they were resident at the Villa Medici. In Italy, the French painters discovered Rome as well as the Latium and the rich, archaeological sites in the South of Italy which were a plentiful source of subject matter.
Landscape, whether executed in the artist’s studio, with figures added in, as was the tradition, evident in Vue d’Aricia by Bertin, or in works by Rémond, Giroux or Turpin de Crissé’s Chasseur de l’Appenin, or painted in the open air, inspired by nature, as in works by Corot; San Marino and Vue du temple de Minerva Medica or by Bodinier in his sketches, was the main focus. Ancient monuments or ruins were also an endless source of inspiration: Boisselier, Vue du temple de Paestum, Barbot, Procession au Forum…
The Italians, their customs and costumes were equally fascinating to French painters of this time, as witnessed in Guillaume Bodinier’s La demande en mariage.
Stories and literature
There was a growing interest in the Middle Ages and literary subjects amongst painters and writers in the period from 1810 to 1820. Numerous historical subjects are the pretext to painting edifying or dramatic subjects as in Dévéria’s La lecture de la sentence de Marie Stuart, Puis de Chavanne’s Mademoiselle de Sombreuil buvant un verre de sang pour sauver la vie de son père, Ary Scheffer’s Sainte Elisabeth distribuant des bijoux aux pauvres.
Literature was another tremendous source of inspiration to a certain number of painters known as ‘troubadours’, such as Couder; Une scène de Roméo et Juliette or Ingrès, in his famous painting, Paolo et Francesca.
The portrait genre, whether it serves to express the essence of the figure portrayed, a career or a craft, or the social status of the model, remained important throughout the 19th century, despite the apparition of photography. The portraits exhibited here date from the period 1852-1914 and illustrate as many variations on the genre as they do changes in style: Hersent’s portrait of the painter Portrait de Turpin de Crissé, Baudry’s depiction of art lover Charles Beulé; Portrait de Charles Beulé, Blanche’s Portrait de Mrs Montgomery-Lang, Henner’s Portrait de Laura Leroux, or Desboutin’s Portrait du Sâr Mérodack Joséphin Péladan, a character renowned for his eccentricity and interest in the esoteric.
Landscapes (2nd half of the 19th century)
Although the traditional landscape is still apparent in the oeuvre of Flandrin or Anastasi (Procession sur le Forum de Rome), the Impressionists and their followers contribute to the evolution of this genre: Lebourg, Boudin, Lebasque, Le goûter sur l’herbe…
The modern world is evoked in Jongkind’s Paris, la Seine, l’Estacade…
Sculptures and academic painting
In contrast to the previous room housing works from the 19th century collection, this room is located on the ground floor, in a space large enough to accommodate and exhibit the three large-format paintings and sculptures. Here the public can discover artworks in the academic style that characterized official art in the mid-19th century, with references to Ancient Greece and Rome, the idealization of the human body, the exaltation of the nude, the smoothness of the surface, evident in the paintings of Mongez, Appert, Lenepveu or Gervex, or in sculptures by Gumery, Cavelier, Dumont and Taluet.
The largest painting in the museum is on display here: Guérin’s La mort de Priam. Although an unfinished work, it is the highlight of this room, both in terms of its size and its educational virtues which demonstrate the squaring up of a painting based on the original sketch