Louvre – Salles Des Etats – Room VIM – French School

THE Salle des Etats, Room VIII. on the plan, opens at one end into the Grande Galerie and at the other into Salle Denon. It contains French pictures mostly of the second and third quarters of the nineteenth century, and, with the Thomy-Thiéry collection includes most of the greatest gems of French art owned by the Louvre.

Rather out of its element in this modern collection is David’s classic work, the Oath of the Horatii. At the left the three brothers stand with extended arms before their father receiving their swords from his hand, promising by the act everlasting vengeance upon the Curatii. At the right sits their sister, who, betrothed as she is to one of the enemy, leans over in an agony of grief upon Sabina wife of the eldest brother. The mother holds in her arms her two little children. The action is calculated and wholly unspontaneous. The work was done with the assistance of Drouais.

Prud’hon’s Portrait of Baron Denon is evidence that though he can be called a portrayer of women rather than of men, he yet could paint men with an insight that was especially noticeable when his subjects were men of genuine feeling and artistic sensibility. This is one of these. It is a portrait that France has seldom surpassed. The old Director General of Fine Arts is dressed in his Academician garments, the Russian Order of St. Anne about his neck. His short gray hair, soft and fine, and grown far back on his head, stands up as if the activity of the brain under it would not allow it to lie flat and smooth. The forehead is monumental in its width and breadth. The eyes, far apart, but not wide open, the large, firmly cut nose, the fine line of the closely shut mouth, the square, cleft chin, with the slight extra flesh beneath, — every point of this intense personality is felt, but as a whole rather than as countable attributes. The head is in three-quarters position, turned toward his left shoulder. A decided but very luminous shadow falls on the right side of his face, breaking into a light across the eye and cheek-bone. The rest of the face is mostly in full clear light. And it is as fresh, as mobile, as free in its brush-work, and as fascinating in its planes as a face by Correggio, he who was, next to Leonardo, Prud’hon’s great admiration.

Napoleon at Eylau, by Gros, hangs on the east wall. It was after the exhibition of this immense canvas, with its figures of more than life-size that Napoleon took the cross from his own breast and gave it to the painter.

Napoleon, in a gray satin pelisse, bordered with fur, is mounted on a light bay horse, viewing with his generals the terrible scene of destruction after the battle. The ground is covered with snow, and in the background, where before the lines of French troops the prisoners of war pass in review, is the village of Eylau in flames. Before it, what seem to be at first glance natural mounds of drifted snow, turn out to be heaps of dead bodies over which the snow has fallen. Napoleon’s face and attitude are very expressive. The reins are dropped in one hand and the other is lifted with a gesture full of distress, as he contemplates the gruesome plain. By his side are Soult, Davoust, Murat, Berthier, Bessières and Caulaincourt. Before them the wounded, dying and dead. One poor fellow is clasping the emperor’s knee begging his blessing. One is being raised by an aide. One young ” chasseur ” helps to set the leg of a wounded soldier under the direction of Percy, the surgeon-general. Even in his agony, the soldier raises himself to salute his chief. French surgeons are among the enemy also, bandaging, giving water. Beyond, a little farther back, a cannonier lies dead across his gun. Farther still two chasseurs of the Guard places upon one of their horses a badly wounded grenadier.

Again as in the Jaffa painting is the strong contrast between the living and dying, between bounding, perfect health and gray pallidness and waning strength. And even more than in the other do we feel the pathos, the pain, the pity of it all. Death in its full grimness is there in plenty, yet once more the master-brush has made a great tragedy that stirs the deeps of emotion, and again one finds that it is not in any way beyond the limits of true art. By its treatment, by the powerful imagination combined with the sanity and instinctive clarity of its painter, it impresses itself indelibly upon the memory.

The Apotheosis of Homer, by Ingres, shows the blind bard seated on the top of a wide flight of stairs at the entrance to a Greek temple. Standing at his right is the winged figure of the Muse who, descending from the sky holds the palm and laurel wreath in her hands. Homer is partly draped in a robe that falls away leaving his chest and right arm bare. His left hand is grasping his staff which he has brought close up before him. Ranged on each side of the steps is the company of poets, writers, painters, sculptors and musicians of all time.

Those of the oldest of the Greek days are nearer his level, those of later at the lower sides. At his feet are the two daughters, for so has Ingres personified his Iliad and Odyssey, Odyssey at the right holding the oar of the long voyages of the son of Laertes across her knee, Iliad on the left, with her arms crossed about her knees, her head turned mournfully outward.

Among the great ones surrounding Homer, are Apelles, clasping the hand of Raphael standing behind him, Phidias with his mallet, Herodotus offering incense, Virgil and Socrates. Below, on each side, are those of later days, and of Ingres’s own time. There are Dante and Shakespeare, Poussin and Gluck, Racine and Boileau, Fénelon and La Fontaine. And these moderns are wonderfully characterized. Each head is living, full of force and personality. No less excellent in their own way are the ideal heads of the Greeks and Romans above them. In this work Ingres joined to the strict classicism shown in the lines and general style, a feeling for beauty and an expression of individuality that makes it an exponent of the very highest of the classic school. It does, as has been often said, suggest Raphael in its scheme and even in its execution. One may well think that only he who had spent untold hours absorbing the very spirit of the Parnassus and the School of Athens, could ever have produced this modernized Greek epic. Yet a copy of Raphael it most certainly is not. And all times, all schools of all shades of belief must acknowledge it as a work of talent that, if below the par of genius, is at least worthy of a high place on the list of fame.

Ingres studied with David and throughout his long life upheld the school of his master. He was a rampant, unyielding classicist, putting his entire efforts into producing a beauty of form, a delicacy and truth of line, a simplicity that was a perfection of modelling. He was the one great exponent of the classic school during the years when Delacroix was triumphantly at the head of the new romantic movement, and though the age was realistically romantic, and had mostly outgrown the cold marbleness of David and his school, yet, so persistent, so firm, so unyielding was he in his own way, and so faultlessly did he carry out his ideas, that he succeeded in winning from the nation as much honour and appreciation as was given to his bitter rival, Delacroix. Unquestionably he did achieve a purity, a rarely perfect if purely intellectual beauty that in spite of its total lack of appeal to the emotions, in spite of its almost total ignoring of the power and beauty of colour, did win, and wins to-day, the admiration and respect even of those who radically disagree with him as to what constitutes the art of painting. There are many amusing stories told illustrating his intense aversion to any kind of art or artist who did not follow his lines of thought. On taking his pupils through the Rubens Gallery he would say, ” Salute him, my children, but do not look at him.”

In this Salle des Etats, Ary Scheffer has three paintings, which give a fair sample of his work at its best and at its worst. In the Death of Gericault, he struck a higher note than ever before or after. There are real feeling, power and pathos in the scene that shows the great painter with his two friends, Colonel Brodebout and Dedreux Dorcy behind his bed. There is even some attempt at colour here, and, small as is the canvas, marks Scheffer’s greatest achievement.

The Temptation of Christ is a work much better known from its innumerable reproductions. The devil, with the usual darkness of colouring and of the conventional figure since Milton’s poem, stands near the summit of the mountain showing Christ the distant cities that lie below. Jesus, in the clinging robes Scheffer loved, stands rebuking the evil one and points dramatically to the sky. This is as conventional as it was popular, and has little to recommend it except the story-telling quality; which, to be sure, is positively blatant.

Though Ary Scheffer is always included in the French school, it is only by virtue of his long residence and training in Paris. His mother was Dutch and his father was German, and he himself was born in Dordrecht. A pupil of Guerin he was left by that strict Academician to follow pretty much his own bent. This bent was an effort to combine the attributes of the waning classic school with those of the romantic. Like many another with two masters he fell between two stools. In spite of the great popularity won by his works for so many years, they are mostly a blending of sentiment often bordering on sentimentality, of a sweet beauty that is next door to the lachrymose, a tenderness that is positively unprincipled in its weakness, a purity of line with a total lack of accent or power, and, joined at times to a poetic conception, an absolute blindness to colour. In fact Ary Scheffer’s pictures must be regarded as something existing entirely out of the realms of colour. One wonders what he ever put on his palette. If there were any rich, glowing or subtle tones, they stayed there. Never by any chance did they get placed upon his canvas.

Only a year younger than Scheffer was Corot, who has two of his most beautiful canvases in this room, but looking at the paintings of the two, it seems as if an eternity must separate them. In the beginning of Corot’s artistic career, however, there was not so strong a difference between them. When, at the age of twenty-six the draper’s clerk persuaded his father to let him take up art as a profession, he produced, under the instruction of Michallon, Roman ruins, Greek temples or modern Italian landscape with a scrupulous fidelity to actuality, with a brush that drew exactly and vividly if somewhat angularly the scene before him. It was the influence of the classic school that shows most in these early paintings. He developed his own particular talent late in life, and it is undoubtedly due to the perpetual youth of his mind and spirit that at forty, after fourteen years of continuous practice in all the traditions of the classic school, he could so change, vivify and wholly transform his style. If in Corot’s later pictures he has been accused of a lack of strict drawing, the lack, such as it is, is not due to any ignorance on his part, but to deliberate intention. With his depth of knowledge he could afford to neglect what to lesser minds and a more superficially trained brush would have seemed overimportant. Corot knew and it is certainly largely owing to his long academic training that he could allow himself liberties, that he could play with nature, and become such a part of her, that those of any poetic instinct must see that truth and fidelity are always present in the least as in the greatest of his works.

It has been claimed that his pictures all look alike. This is really not much more than saying that his brush-work becomes after awhile, familiar, or at the most that he loved chiefly two parts of the day, the dawn and twilight, and repeated them in his canvases many times. The middle of the day he did not care to paint. ” One sees too much,” he declared. And that is the real reason for the superficial observer’s claim of the similarity between Corot’s paintings. One never does see too much. Veiled with the dawn’s vapours, only suggested in the tremulous mist of earliest spring, softly submerged under the translucent shadows of the twilight, only half exposed in the pearly light of the new-risen moon, — these are the moods of nature and the times of day and season Corot best loved. This is all the similarity between them. Any one who knows his pictures well, knows best the variety, the individuality and the surprises that fill them. Silvery green is Corot’s palette, on first examination. A myriad other as exquisite tones are found with closer study. The soft grays, the violets, the clear cool browns, the luminous whites, the silvered yellows, — those are the tones his lovers have found in profusion, and they make a gamut as varied as it is delicate, as penetrative as it is subtle, as true as it is poetic. It is this last quality that fills every canvas of Corot’s later years. Each scene is an idyl, each canvas a painted poem, — or better still a tone-poem. Corot loved music as deeply as he did painting and his works have suggested musical comparisons to many, partly because they seem almost as intangibly plastic as this least plastic of all the arts. Colour-harmonies they truly are, with a weaving melody sung by the misty, tremulous vapours of dawn, by Spring, with her violets and greens that smooch the tips of the budding trees, by the brooks scarce murmuring under the twilight’s last caress, by the nymphs and dryads dancing in limpid moonlight. It is always a song that has just begun that Corot’s brush has caught, and so exquisite, so full of suggestion is it that the listener is inspired too and fain goes on to the end of the strain, as if he too were poet-singer.

Technically, besides Corot’s great attributes as a colourist, he ranks at the very highest for his wonderful feeling for values. No one else has ever expressed more perfect concord between sky and foliage, foliage and trunk, trunk and lake or stream. In, through, behind the woods of Corot you can wander, over the lake you can sail, on its banks with the nymphs you too could dance. No other shade or tone could express so perfectly the atmosphere that makes the tips of the greenest twigs blend and yet separate themselves from the softened sky that is behind and over them.

Most of Corot’s later years were spent with the men he loved so greatly in the forest of Fontainebleau, and he is always spoken of as one of the Barbizon school of painters.

The View’ of the Forum, and that of the Colosseum, were among his earliest paintings and hung in his studio till his death. He always cared greatly for them, regarding them with the affection a parent has for his first-born, and at his death he left them to the government. They are, of course, in his early manner, and, compared with the landscapes other Frenchmen were painting at that time, were of unusual interest and charm. Compared with his own later works, however, they seem academic, hard and needlessly literal.

The picture called simply a Landscape might be titled A Lake where Morning Bathes. Filling the middle plane, and reaching back on one side to a point of tree-bowered land, and on the other to a horizon of a soft misty forest, lies this lake. It is so luminous where the light of the morning spreads over it, so full of mysterious tender shadow where the trees are mirrored, that it is like a soft harmony heard from the wood-wind of an orchestra, — subtle, deep, caressing, with a tinge of melancholy that is half-ecstatic. The big tree on the right that throws its branches far over the pictured space breaks the extent of sky with its feathery twigs and heavier masses of leaves, and its trunks make vigorous accents and balance the dark foreground of the bank. At the left of this tree is another, which is hardly more than a single weather-bent stalk. Here and there along its naked length bunches of budding twigs still are sprouting, and a peasant is standing on tiptoes to reach one of the lower ones of these blossom excrescences. The light that flickers between the branches of the large tree sweeps down her arm and shoulder and touches both her petticoat and the cluster she is plucking. At the base of the stump are two children, one picking delicate flowers from the ground, the other holding up her arms for the prize her mother is securing. From the extreme right under the willow, — if it is a willow — an older peasant is advancing, her sunbonnet just catching the light that sifts through. Soft and tender as this picture is, and full of the evanescent aroma of early spring and early morning, there is a vigorous note struck in this bit of peas-ant life thus introduced. It is as if Corot had said, ” See! Here is fairy-land all about you. You need not be poets nor fays to see it. The very peasants are part of it. It is their very reality, and they can always dwell within it.”

One of the best known and best loved of Corot’s works is the other landscape called sometimes A Morning and sometimes the Dance of the Nymphs. Here is not only fairy-land but the inhabitants thereof besides. And it is a land and people you are quite sure dear old Père Corot actually knew. How else could he have painted those dancing nymphs, those laughing fauns and satyrs, those dryads, with the abandon that shows such absolute knowledge behind? It is all so real, so spontaneous, so possible, that you are quite sure you could see those very selfsame elves in that very selfsame glen if only you might get there early enough in the morning. Was ever such a delicately frolicsome scene depicted before? Can a more spiritual gaiety be imagined than fills this dell where the trees mass soft against the sky of dawn, where the brooding light rests across the opening in front of the tree-made bower, where the fields beyond are all suffused in a bath of new-risen sun? And did ever mortal imagine before the very essence of the spirit of dance? Do those flying feet of the woodland folk touch the ground at all? Were ever butterflies above the roses more full of sprit and spring? Was ever seen a more abandonment of joy than in those laughing fauns ? Yet all this gaiety, this frolicsomeness, this quintessence of laughter is veiled, etherealized, spiritualized, — what you will—till it becomes as intangible as it is joyous, as evanescent as it is penetrating, as dreamlike as it is real — a poet’s Land o’ Smiles where mortals cannot tread, but, seeing, can love and believe in all the more.

Delaroche’s Princes in the Tower in this room is one of that painter’s best-known works. It is supposed to represent the moment before the doomed boys’ assassination. The great carved bed of Edward is shown in one of the rooms of the Tower. Sitting by its side, on the top of a high bench, the young Richard rests his richly illuminated book on the knees of his brother Edward, who is seated on the bed and leans upon his brother’s shoulder. A small dog near the foot of the bed has turned toward the door on the other side of which the assassins are already heard. Richard has stopped his reading and is looking that way too, his very evident though silent dread plain on his face. But Edward is too ill and too indifferent even to lift his eyes from their sombre downward gaze. The velvet suits of the boys emphasize their pallor and their wretched plight. This tells the story so frankly and so fully that the public in general has always adored it. It is safe to say that it is its literary quality which is mostly responsible for its chief encomiums.

The fame of the works of Eugène Delacroix, seven of which are in this salle, rests upon something very different. John La Farge places this chief of the romantic school of France ” alone of all the painters of the nineteenth century in the line of high expression which runs from Giotto to Puvis de Chavannes.” This painter-critic says further that with Puvis de Chavannes ” he is the only one of the French painters who has any claim to connection with the great mural painters of the past.” He continues, ” It is to the eternal disgrace of the government and official influences that this one most important exemplar of decorative art had so little. opportunity to illustrate his nation by monumental work.” His ceiling in the Galerie d’Apollon of the Louvre is one of the great achievements of any age and makes the designs of Le Brun that surround it look more pompous, theatrical, unreal and overelaborate than ever. There is a most wonderful movement and swing to those celestial horses, unexcelled by the work of any modern or any ancient time. Far ahead of all his contemporaries in colour, a remarkable master in line, in massing, in all that goes to make a superb composition, his ” arrangement ” is as little evident as in a Rubens.

Delacroix, though so bitterly reviled by the classicists, had really the deepest love and reverence for the great ancients. Had they but realized it, he never transgressed the laws of true classicism. Indeed he carried them out more strictly and more wonderfully than did any of those labelled ” classic.” Delacroix saw plainly that those who merely copied the works of the ancients were going contrary to the entire spirit of those who had created them. They had been original, free, spontaneous, living. That was what he also wished to be and what in a superlative degree he was.

He was the first great French composer. His massing, spotting, harmony of line and space, the entire extraordinary ensemble, with its inevitable climacteric centre, its gradations that lead as inevitable to that focus, — all these proclaim him a master of masters. Even his de-tractors were forced to compare him with Raphael and with Rubens. If he has the balance, the compositional unity of Raphael, he has combined with it the energy, fire, dramatic sense and colour of Rubens. A poet, a decorator, a colourist — those are the three names he has been truly given, and he is no greater as one than as the other. Besides all this he was never the exaggerator, the poseur, the extremist that the school who claimed him as master often afterward became.

The Bark of Dante on the north wall of the Salle des Etats, his first exhibited picture, was shown in the Salon of 1822. The story goes that, being terribly poor at the time, he sent the picture with no frame except a rude affair made of four lathes over which he had sprinkled yellow paint. When, on the opening day he hastened to see whether it had been accepted, he could find it nowhere. Suddenly, just as in despair he was about giving up the search, he discovered it in a fine frame in a place of honour in the Salon Carré. It was Baron Gros, who, in spite of his academic predilections, recognizing the genius of this new painter, had had the picture suitably framed and hung. And then Delacroix, in palpitating eagerness and gratitude went to the big man’s studio where he was greeted cordially and told to ” come to us. We will teach you to draw.” Gros also said that the Bark was ” Rubens reformed.” But at Delacroix’s next departure even the tolerant Gros was scandalized, and from that time began the war that waged about Delacroix so long as he lived.

The colouring of this Bark of Dante is largely account-able for its partial acceptance by the classicists. In a dim, sombre light, the open boat is being propelled by Charon through the waves. He is shown at the stern, his body nude save for a scarf that goes about the upper part of his shoulders and thighs. He stands back to, legs far apart, his whole bent body concentrated upon the huge oar which he is pushing in front of him. At the other end are Virgil and Dante, the former placid, calm, unmoved, while Dante, with both hands outspread, is starting back in terror at the awful sights about them. Clinging to both sides of the boat, whirled away by the waves, torn off by the frantic arms or feet of their companions, are the lost souls that the Styx devours. These figures are marvellous examples of draughtsmanship, full of an emotional intensity that contracts their muscles, agonizes their features, contorts their limbs. The modelling of the flesh is no less astonishing, and the whole picture is a creation genius alone, at any age, could have produced. And its painter was only twenty-four.

The Massacre of Chios was exhibited in 1824. A group of the captured men, women and children are huddled together in the foreground, waiting in terror, in stoical indifference, or in fury for what shall be their final disposition by the Turks. At the right, a Turk on a rearing horse has bound a beautiful nude Greek girl to the back of the plunging animal. Her arms are flung above her head in pleading fright, but the rider pays no attention except to cut down with his scimiter the Greek who throws himself against the horse in a futile attempt at rescue. In front of this group sits an elderly woman in the costume of the country, her head turned toward her left shoulder, her eyes wide in anguish, but with no sound coming from her hopeless lips. Leaning against her, thrown flat on her back, with her arms bound behind her and the clothing gone from the upper part of her body, is a young mother, who lies watching in a very torture of helplessness the little naked babe crawling up her breast. At the left of these in front, a man and woman sit close together against a rock. Both are absolutely quiet, in a despair that is emphasized with every curve of the supple figures, and accented by the staring, non-seeing eyes of the man. Another man and his sweetheart are clasped in each other’s arms. By the side of his father a boy kneels and begs in terrible fear. Over all is the brilliant, palpitating light, the strong, pulsing colour, the juxtaposition of vividly apposite tones.

It took Delacroix two years to paint this picture, and then, at the end, when it was already hung in the Salon, he repainted almost every bit of it, intensifying, clarifying, strengthening, changing his colours till they hummed with a radiance he had never dreamed of before. It was due entirely to the works of an Englishman that he made such a radical innovation. Just as his picture was carried to the gallery, he had a chance to see two canvases by Constable which had been brought over from England. The Briton’s palette was a revelation to the French-man. After a rapid, eager, wholesale study in which he appears to have actually swallowed the entire method of the foreigner, he betook himself to his own canvas, got permission from the authorities, and in a few days had completely transformed it. If a certain rigidity of tone might before have saved it in the opinion of the classicists, it stood no longer any such chance.

It was with this picture that Delacroix began what was an entirely new departure for French art. All the present-day attempts at colour-effects, the impressionists themselves, owe their freedom and their brilliancy to this impetus which Delacroix gave to this side of French art. In his day, his vibratory, rich and sometimes start-ling colour was condemned as one of his worst faults. Quietness carried to sculptured rigidity in action, quietness, carried to monochromatic tones in colour, quietness, carried to architectural solidity in grouping, quietness, carried to meaningless vacuity in expression, — that was the sign manual of the art as Delacroix found it. Little wonder that such a stultification of academic rules and principles found a rampant rebel in this Prince of Emotion, this warrior in action, this ” Orlando Furioso of colourists.”

The Twenty-eighth of July, 183o, was one of the two political pictures Delacroix ever painted. And this, with its enormous ” heroine of the barricade,” is really an allegory. In her half-naked state, with her Phrygian cap, she but symbolizes Liberty, — Liberty for the state, for the people, for art. It was exhibited in 1831, and, already obnoxious by its implied meaning to the government, was purchased by the direction of the Beaux Arts, and turned face against the wall.

After this Delacroix made his journey to Morocco, and there gathered new feeling for colour, new and wonderful ideas of sunlight, gleaming sands, golden days, blue waters and marvellous Oriental people. All his life he drew from his memory of these Arabian-Nights days, and made his pictures full of the pulsing life of the Orient.

Women of Algiers in their Apartment has been compared to an open jewel-box, so gleaming, transparent, varied, rich, almost intoxicating is its colour. When it was exhibited he was accused by the critics of having copied Veronese. In a room of the harem whose walls are tiled with faience, whose floors of marquetry are partly covered with the soft rugs on which they lie, are three women, “half-reclining,” says a critic, ” . . . doing nothing, hardly holding their narghiles in their nonchalant fingers, present no prevalence of life and thought, more than flowers or jewels, and so leave the play of colour undominated by any intellectual interest. He has pushed to their maximum of splendour, but has brought to a repose by a perfect equilibrium of intensities, the great brilliancy, opulence and fulness of colour of the accessories, — stuffs, and faience and walls of wonderful combinations. He has made use of complementary contrasts and harmonies of tints, and of blacks and whites as amalgams, so to speak.”

His Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople re-sembles, says Muther, ” an old, delicately tinted carpet, full of powerful, tranquil harmony.” In its scheme of colour, in action, it is as full of motion, and emotion, as are all of Delacroix’s pictures. Like all of his compositions, too, the tone suits the subject. It is a glorious sight to Christian eyes to see this stronghold of the Sultan captured by Christians, and this feeling is emphasized in the golden tone of the canvas. The very air scintillates as if the oxygen were transmuted gold.

On the same wall hangs Decamps’s On the Towpath. With the western sky all aglow’ with the setting sun, the foreground of this picture except as spots or edges catch the rays, is in heavy shadow. The canal runs straight across, and splashing through the water come the four tow-horses. Only the first two are wholly in the picture, and they fill the centre of the composition. Behind them at the extreme right are seen the heads of the following two. Mounted squarely sidewise, as if sitting on a bench, with both feet hanging straight over the left of the white horse, is the driver, a deep silhouette against the glowing sky. High in air he holds his whip, preparatory to using it to urge the horses forward. Absolutely anatomically correct the great animals undoubtedly are not, yet surely no photograph ever presented a more vivid picture of seeming truth. The heavy muscles, the strain on the big necks, the pull and pressure everywhere, seem not only real but exact. At the left in the middle distance is a slender tree, near by a peasant driving a flock of geese and at the right are an inn or dwelling and other peasants at the door. All are dark against the luminous sky.

Another ” stem-picture ” is Diaz’s Under the Trees, which is only a sketch. In it again, are the big, lapping, spreading branches, the depths of forest behind, the glinting light, and over all the shimmer no one has ever painted so well as he.

Hippolyte Flandrin has three canvases in this salle. The one called simply Figure Study is well known by reproductions. It represents the nude figure of a young man seated in profile on a rock at the edge of the sea. His knees are drawn up, his head bent upon them, while his arms are brought around, his left hand clasping the wrist of his right in front. His profile is lost in shadow, only the cheek, ear and hair being in full view. The drawing of this figure is as beautiful as it is marvellously true. There is a very fine feeling shown for form and contour and the modelling while full is not overdone.

The Portrait of a Young Girl is neither so well done nor so well known. The maiden is seated in profile, the picture cut just below the waist, and only partly showing the crossed arms and hands, one of which holds a closed book. A soft shadow submerges the delicate profile, her curling hair is bound with a black velvet band and wound into a large knot at the base of her neck. The waist of white muslin is slightly open exposing the soft lines of throat and neck. The modelling is exquisite, the drawing pure and fine.

Flandrin was a pupil of Ingres and carried out in his works the principles of his master with a faithfulness and sincerity, that, if proving he was not highly endowed with originality, at least proclaimed him a remarkably perfect draughtsman, a lover of pure line and contour, a zealous and most conscientious worker. As a rule he paid no more attention to colour than did any of the classic school. He became a very noted religious painter and was the first since Le Sueur to show true spiritual feeling in his works. If they are little more than assimilations of the fifteenth-century Italians, they are full of real feeling, and have a purity of line and form not often seen. His one specialty outside of these religious paintings may be said to be the portraiture of young girls. No resemblance can be found in these gentle, pensive, nun-like maidens to the coquettish, roguish, sentimental creations of Greuze, that other French painter of maidenhood.

Two great canvases by Constant Troyon hang on opposite sides of this Salle des Etats. Until the opening of the Thomy-Thiéry collection these were the only Troyons the Louvre owned.

Oxen Going to Work, is the name of the picture by which Troyon is probably best known throughout the – Western world. Probably, too, he never surpassed this during all the years of his artistic life. One is inclined to go still farther and say that probably, also, no one else has ever surpassed it. Whether one speaks of the broad extent of fields smoking under the early rays of the sun, of the glowing, sun-bathed sky, of the heavy, patient oxen, — of any part or of the whole of this composition, only superlatives rise to the lips.

Over a rough roadway, through a deeply furrowed field where vegetation is scarce and where heather and grass grow in hummocks, advancing straight toward the spectator come the six huge oxen with their driver. Yoked two by two, the three couples follow one after another, the first two close together, the third farther behind and a trifle at the right of the first group. At the left walks the driver with his long sharp prod, and at the moment he is looking over his shoulder at the two loitering behind. On each side stretch the wide fields, sloping gently upward to the horizon-line that is blurred with low clustering trees. At the left are more cattle with their drivers and over all the glowing early morning sky. It is this feeling of the morning, the light of it, the freshness, the haze, that is perhaps the most wonderful effect of the picture. You catch the very breath of those early breezes that are hardly more than vapours. You feel the exhilaration of the air that comes like a soft puff from the awakening sky. You are enveloped in that wonderful tenderness of colouring of the world not yet wholly unveiled by the inquisitive sun. In fact you are bodily as well as mentally taken into the very atmosphere, into the very spot itself. It is as if a great window had suddenly been opened out of a stifling room, and through it out in the open, nature is at her morning bath. As for the oxen themselves, though mostly felt as merely a part of all this wakening world, they are fully as marvellous in their own way. Great, plodding, patient beasts, you feel and see the tramp of their heavy feet. You smell the sweetness of their steaming breaths, you feel the ponderous weight of the mighty flanks. Thrown against the sky, they are in a shadow as luminous almost as light itself. One of the minor though delightful details is the way Troyon indicated the high lights where their horns or backs or legs catch the unbroken rays of the sun.

Troyon has been called a painter pure and simple, indicating that he was no poet. Yet here, surely is poetry. Poetry of the early morning, poetry of the plodding beasts, poetry of the mist and haze. It is modern, intensely modern, and as real as day and night, but none the less is it full of a poetry that is as beautiful as it is vigorous.

If this picture palpitates with the colour, the light, the freshness of morning, The Return to the Farm exhales the calm, the softness, perhaps the heaviness of the dying day. Only the yapping dog and the hastening feet of the home-going animals give a certain vivifying note to the silence that otherwise broods over the scene. The sky is full of clouds, the trees that mass at the turn of the road are already catching the gloom of the coming twilight, the shadows of the herd stretch long across the roadway, and the sheep and cows themselves are fairly bathed in the last effulgence of the dropping sun.

Ten or a dozen sheep are at the right in the immediate foreground. Their sharp little hoofs beat a quick tattoo on the hard road, and they are jostling one another in their eagerness for home. At the left, in the centre of the picture, two cows advance, and they too, hurry their steps. Farther still to the left more of them have stopped to wander down the bank for a last nibble, and two have gone into a pool for a drink. Behind the flock trots a little ass, like the rear-guard of a procession, and ahead of all, running and barking and full of the importance of his position is the dog who apparently feels that the whole care of the journey rests upon him. This picture was first exhibited in 1859, and in 1865, after his death, was given by Troyon’s mother to the government.

Trayon, like Dupré and Diaz as well as others was first in the painting department of a porcelain factory, and it took him many years to outgrow entirely the habits there formed. In 1847 he went to Holland and it is due to the influence of Rembrandt and Van Cuyp that his work became so much stronger and more real. After that he was in Barbizon with Rousseau and the others of the outdoor painters and gradually his pictures grew to be the brilliant, truthful transcriptions of nature that they were. As a painter of cattle in landscape of which they are an integral part, he has never had a rival. On the other hand too, his landscapes themselves were always as important, as truth-telling, as beautiful, as his animals. He had a much less difficult time than many of his contemporaries, achieving earlier than most a popular success. He received the decoration of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1849, the same year it was given to Daubigny, and from that date he could almost treble the prices for his works. His education, save in his own art was very slight, almost rudimentary.

Wholly different was the education of the peasant and the painter of peasants, Jean François Millet, four of whose canvases hang in this room. For though Millet was not only the son but the grandson of Normandy peas-ants, he inherited nevertheless artistic and intellectual gifts from his forbears. When, at the age of eighteen he went to Cherbourg to study painting, he could already read his Bible and Virgil in Latin. And during his several years there he spent his nights studying Homer and Shakespeare, Milton and Scott, Goethe and Byron, Victor Hugo and Chateaubriand. During all his life Millet was a great reader, and his sympathy and understanding of the peasant’s life was founded not only on personal experience but on his wide humanitarian studies.

By dint of tremendous family sacrifices Millet finally went to Paris where he entered the studio of Delaroche. A more uncongenial pair could scarcely be imagined. Millet at best was never teachable and under the man who was posing as the great pacificator between the romantic and classic schools he became even less so. Delaroche for his part acknowledged the talent of the country boy, but did not try to do much for him. It was not till Millet got into the Louvre and studied the great men there on the walls, that his spirit found what seemed worthy of copying. Now began the years of poverty and struggle that lasted almost as long as Millet lived. He took to making little pictures after the style of Boucher, finding that that was the only kind of art he could persuade the public to buy. Then he painted portraits for five and ten francs apiece or little genre subjects for as much as twenty, or sign-boards, or any-thing he could find to do. Until after his first wife died, which was in 1844, Millet’s colouring was marked with purity and clarity and his flesh-tones were soft, glowing and full of brilliance. Diaz, Rousseau and Jacque saw his talent and loved the man and from then on began the friendship that lasted throughout their lives. In these years he was called the ” Master of the Nude,” and his little figures were full of charm and grace and colour, as unlike as possible the Millet known to-day. It was a curious accident that finally forced him out of this line of work. One day he overheard some one say while looking at a pastel of a woman bathing, that it was by that ” fellow named Millet who always paints naked women.” That was enough. The pure-minded peasant from that time entirely renounced the style and subjects which were beginning to bring him both recognition and a fairly good living. He began at once to paint only what he had always longed to paint — scenes of peasant life. His second wife, the brave Catherine Le Marie knew the hardships that were probably in store, but she was willing to face them.

The year 1848, with two or three children and almost no commissions was a terrible strain on husband and wife. Once the whole family lived for two weeks on less than six dollars which he had earned painting a sign-board. Finally when the Revolution broke out, disgusted with the life, worn out with the city noise, sham and frauds, he and Jacque agreed to go to Barbizon for the summer. Before the end of the month they were there and Millet had rented the little house which was to be his home for the rest of his life. Rousseau was already settled near by and so began the colony that has since become so famous under the name of the Barbizon school. In the dull little plain that stretched from the Fontainebleau forest to Chailly, the tiny town where Barbizon folks went to get married or buried, the peas-ants were at work all the year round, and here was where Millet found the subjects for his cycle of peasant life.

His own life was hard and difficult enough. Purchasers for the first ten years were almost a minus quantity. If it had not been for the generosity of his artist friends Millet would many times have been in even more desperate straits than he was. In 1855, under the guise of a rich American Rousseau bought his Paysan Greffant, and Corot and Diaz were always ready with a helping hand for the man they loved and whose talent they revered. His Angelus was finished in 1859, but it was months before it sold for a small fraction of what less than fifteen years after it brought the first purchaser. And in that same year the Salon refused La Mort et la Bûcheron, which was founded on a La Fontaine fable. This was a crushing blow to Millet for he felt keenly that it was aimed directly at himself as a man. He was being called at this time a revolutionist, a demagogue, a St. Simonist, and his glorious Gleaners was declared a promulgation of most seditionary messages. It is amazing to reflect that it was the subjects Millet chose that kept him from being either a popular or an academic success. If he had but returned to his nymphs, nudes and allegories he could have had fame, commissions, riches. It is a debt that posterity can never repay that he was not to be beguiled by any promise of material prosperity to resign his chosen work. And finally, when in 1864 his Bergère was exhibited, he found himself at length, popular. For three years the dire extremity that Millet had so often known was a thing of the past. In 1868 he won the cross of the Legion of Honour and in ’70 was made one of the jurors of the Salon. And then the state gave him a commission for a series of historical paintings for the Panthéon. But the order came too late. Only the preliminary studies were completed when, January 20, 1875, this great poet of peasant life passed away.

Of his works in the Louvre, the Gleaners is by far the greatest as it is one of the greatest that he ever painted. Against the horizon at the right are the roofs of a little hamlet among the trees ; at the left, two mammoth stacks of grain. Between these two extremes come the grain-cart and horses, the workers cutting and stacking the full harvest and the overseer on horseback ordering the work. In the immediate foreground are three peasant women picking from the barren, stubble-field the scattering blades the reapers have left behind. Over all is the atmosphere of a hot, cloudless August day. This is the outline of the picture that raised such a storm of abuse on its exhibition. Why ? It represents in simplest, most unexaggerated manner a scene as common in the French fields as harvesting itself. It is as unadorned and direct as a fable of La Fontaine, but quite without its moral. At least its author does not insist upon the moral. That is left for the observer himself to apply. And this is undoubtedly the real reason for the vituperations. The spectator, be he ever so careless or callous can scarcely help feeling the inner significance of the picture. The rough field in front, where the broken, unreaped blades of grain are so few, so mean ; the bent, toil-worn figures of the three women with their piteously scanty bundles of the precious spears in their jealous hands ; the hot, scorching sun over their heads ; and behind, the heaped-up riches of the owner of the soil. That is all. But could the pathetic, insecure, toilsome, hungering life of the peasant be more poignantly ex-pressed? Or could any words heighten the description of the difference between their life and that of the rich husbandman behind them? And yet it is not too much to say as has indeed often been said, that Millet had no intention in painting this or any other picture actually to draw a moral or preach a sermon, or even to emphasize the inequality between the poor labourer and the landowner. He was too true an artist so to misuse his brush. His whole heart and soul and his entire artistic consciousness were bound up in the life of the plains about him. Pictures, pictures everywhere, his poet’s eyes saw, and saw so simply that it almost seems as if he never had to make that choice and selection which is generally the first effort of the artistic mind.

In the Gleaners there is a vividness, a luminosity, a most marvellous atmospheric effect that fairly envelops the spectator as well as the scene. It ranks, perhaps, after his Angelus and the Sower, lacking as it does a certain mystic austerity so strongly possessed by those two works, but its wonderful clarity, its feeling of ” plein air,” its pathos and significance, make it a great poem of the peasant life.

In Spring, a grass-grown roadway through an apple-orchard in bloom leads to a village at the back whose thatched roofs show among the trees. A storm has been drenching the country, but already the rainbow shines over the clouds, and the freshness of the water-soaked earth and dripping trees fills the canvas. The whole picture breathes an air of pulsing spring to which the soft, clear colours add a delicate force. The general tones are a dark gray, light green and brown, with here and there reds, whites and yellows and a bit of blue in the frock of the man under the apple-tree at the end of the path. It is thickly and heavily painted and is quite without the brilliance of a Monet. But it has a feeling of the spirit of spring itself.

The Church of Greville was bought by the state after his death in its present unfinished condition. The quaint old church with is square low tower and over-hanging roof, is built upon a cliff. In the distance is a glimpse of the sea and in front on the path going by the church are a man and two sheep. About the clock-tower myriads of birds are flying. The gray stones of the church set the general scheme of colour. This is varied by the thin greens about the path and in the trees showing over the roofs of the village behind.

The Bathers are two women, one of whom, seated upon a hillock is helping her companion to go into the water. This was painted by Millet when he was still the “painter of nude women,” and has the fresh colour and grace of that period.

Rousseau, the first of the painters to go to Barbizon, has five canvases in this room. Of these, the Opening in the Forest at Fontainebleau, is one of his greatest works and is in a more completely finished condition than usual with him. It shows his love of differentiating the details of a landscape and is a wonderful example of his power to do this without sacrificing in the least the homogeneity and effect of it as a whole. The foreground, with its weeds, rocks, twigs and bushes is carefully and conscientiously worked out, yet the eye does not linger over it too long. It is carried at once to the centre of interest, — the cows grazing and drinking in and near the shallow pools of the sun-bathed marsh. Old moss-grown oaks make a frame for this scene, their branches inter-locking thickly overhead. The sky, dropping down to a low horizon-line, marked by soft masses of low trees and hills, is suffused with the glory of the setting sun still partly visible over the low hills at the left. From there, the fields all in their sunset dress stretch forward to where one lone tree breaks the opening made by the framing oaks. This tree stands almost in a pool, and its old bent trunk sweeps over far to the right, its full plume of foliage catching some of the light of the sky, thus making a satisfying break between the heavy darkness of the oaks on each side and the brightness of the sky and fields beyond. Beneath the branches the cows are grazing and beyond, nearer the horizon is a larger herd. The picture is one of the great masterpieces of the French school of landscape-painting, and is full of vigour yet, like most of Rousseau’s, is wonderfully serene. The richness of the colouring, the fineness of composition, the splendid balance of the whole, are characteristic of Rousseau at his best.

The Marsh shows a wide, flat district half-inundated with pools and rivulets. At the right in the middle distance a thin line of firs stretches nearly to the centre of the picture. Behind them, and reaching all the way across the horizon are the snow-capped Pyrenees half-lost in the clouds. The centre of the composition, and of the interest, is the herd of cattle drinking the water of the pools or wading knee-deep through them. Dark brown, light cream and spotted animals, they are painted as Rousseau always painted them, vigorously, surely, living embodiments of the solidity, strength and stupidity of their race. The sky of this painting is possibly a little leaden, but as a whole there is exquisite feeling especially in the distance of the vast expanse reaching to the mountains. The canvas was bought by the government in 1881 for 129,000 francs.

In The Storm, a wide flat plain stretches out to a low hill rising above the centre of the horizon-line. On the crest of the hill are three windmills and at the foot a stream spreads from one side of the picture to the other. In the foreground is nothing but the arid, flat plain, the grasses and rushes already bending under the oncoming storm. The sky is crowded with dark menacing clouds and everywhere are the force and power of the tempest about to break.

Along the River is exactly what its title designates. A river opens out almost unbroken to the horizon-line, only low points of land covered with trees or bushes separating it from the sky. In the foreground it flows into a sort of double inlet or bay bordered with trees and shrubs yellowed by the sun. A skiff is pulled up to a point of land breaking one of these indentations and a fisherman sits within it arranging his tackle. The sky is misty.

Rousseau has been called the father of modern French landscape art. Yet for almost all his life he was combated, scorned or ignored. From 1836 till 1848, he was denied admittance to the Salon for what was regarded as his unauthorized style of painting, and even after the Revolution of 1849 when the jury of the Salon was chosen from among the artists themselves, though he was at first loudly acclaimed as the greatest landscape-painter living, things continued to go badly with him. So far as his treatment at the Salon is concerned, he never received the honours that, in the judgment of the first critics of to-day he should have had. He was finally made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, but that was as high a rank as was ever accorded him. And for years the classic hostility was so great that he was never either decorated nor half-decently hung at the Salon. It is an indication of a curious state of art in France when even to-day the adherents of what must still be called the classic school are so bitter against all those whose ideas of art, of beauty, and of the way of rendering nature do not agree with theirs. So taken for granted is this condition of affairs that it occasioned no surprise when, only a few years ago, two of the most famous of France’s painters declared that if they had the chance to-day they would never allow a Millet or a Rousseau to be exhibited in the Salon. Such is the antagonism between the two so-called ” schools.”

But with Rousseau it was not only the Salon that used him hardly. Dealers were even worse in their treatment of him for nearly all his life. Men whom Rousseau made wealthy returned to him a mere fraction of the money his works brought them. And while they were growing rich the tormented painter was struggling along under big debts, an insane wife and his own incompetency in business affairs. By fits and starts, to be sure, he man-aged to down the demon of poverty, and it was during one of these breathing spaces that he impersonated the rich American and bought the picture from the starving Millet for four thousand francs. These two men were always close friends and it was in the arms of the painter of the Angelus that Rousseau died.

Rousseau is noted not only for his direct return to nature, but for his wonderful knowledge of all sorts of vegetations. It was not enough for him to represent any kind of a tree or a vague order of underbrush. He worked over every trunk, every branch, almost every leaf, till the absolute portrait of each was obtained. The rocks, the bushes, the flowers, the weeds, the grass, he differentiated them all and gave to all the exact forms, lines and colours that Mother Nature herself had be-stowed upon them. Yet, in spite of such a display of knowledge and such an amount of painstaking detail, Rousseau did not lose his ensemble. Almost never did the minute care or attention to the most luxuriant of foregrounds, middle distances or backgrounds spoil the effect of the picture as a whole.

Even with the bitter disappointments that came to both Millet and Rousseau, they made no attempt to wage war against their enemies. All they asked was a chance to work as seemed best to them, in peace and quiet, with decent remuneration and appreciation. No such attitude was taken by Courbet, whose motto, ” Paint only what you see” became the motto for the impressionists. Courbet was as great an iconoclast in his line as was ever Martin Luther in his. In politics a Republican, he got embroiled in all sorts of political troubles and finally in 1871, charged with being wholly responsible for the demolition of the Vendôme Column, he was arrested and fined for its entire cost of restoration, some four hundred thousand francs. He died across the border in Switzer-land, a ruined and most unhappy artist. Yet, if ever art needed the virile force, the unblinded eyes, the unafraid brush, the whole point of view of this unquenchable, masculine nature, it was when he came upon the scene, and stigmatized the École des Beaux Arts, and its classical traditions as pure and unmitigated rubbish. It is to his aggressiveness that much of the freedom of French art is to-day due. As has been said, his method was very different from that of most of the Barbizon men. He was determined to convince the world that the world was all wrong and he waged an unceasing, blatant war-fare that, if proving himself egoist of egoists, did much to teach the younger generation that each artist must see for himself, by himself.

In the Salle des Etats, his Wounded Man is one of his famous canvases. Here his overwhite flesh shows to advantage and adds to the gruesomeness and actuality of the injured man.

The two pictures of Deer, in their forest homes are full of Courbet’s love of primeval nature. One can almost smell the bark and turf. As critics have said, however, Courbet is not greatest in his outdoor scenes, because in spite of a very real portrait of nature in her world-dress, he has forgotten the veil of atmosphere that she always throws between herself and her most ardent lover. What Corot felt most and is always telling, Courbet never saw and as little felt. Nevertheless these woodland depths have a freshness, a verve, a veritable shout of youth and spring.

Until the gift of the Thomy-Thiéry collection the Louvre had a very inadequate representation of Daubigny in the two canvases in the Salle des Etats. Daubigny, who began by painting classical figure subjects might have been merely a mediocre academic figure-painter if an accident had not kept him away when his name was called to enter the competition for the Prix de Rome. Disappointed in this way, he then turned his attention strictly to the painting of landscape. He was perhaps less original, less inspired than most of the others of the Barbizon school. His work shows the influence at times of Millet, of Corot, of Rousseau, and he was less an interpreter of nature than her photographer. He loved her devotedly however, and his canvases show an intimate friendship, a deep feeling for all the simplest sights and views. Gray murmuring water, silvery Spring all apple-blossom-laden, old boats drawn to a marshy shore, fields of waving corn, mills working by sputtering streams, — it is the homely, daily life about the river Oise that he loves best and paints best. His work too, is full of a delicious vapour, a softness of air and atmosphere that can be fairly felt. It is not surprising that the consumptive boy, on seeing one of Daubigny’s Springtimes should have cried, ” Oh ! I can breathe now.” He liked best to paint the cool of the evening after the glow of the sunset has quite left the sky. His days he spent in his big boat-barge, and as it drifted up or down the Oise he would moor it wherever a gentle turn, an old mill or a waving field attracted him.

The Springtime in this room is one of his more finished canvases. Down a path leading through the end of a field of green wheat, rides a young girl on donkey-back, the framework for panniers sticking far out on each side of the beast. Behind her in the wheat two rustic lovers are embracing. At the left at the top of a softly sloping hill the orchards bloom against the sky. Over all is the exquisite tenderness of the early spring.

The Vintage in Burgundy shows the peasants gathering grapes. At the left is a cart drawn by two oxen on which is loaded a tub and from it by a little path comes one of the gatherers. Two boys are lying down in the foreground. The landscape is flat.

Fromentin’s unfinished canvas, An Arabian Encampment, hangs on the west wall of the Salle des Etats. It was bought after the death of the painter, just as he had left it. In the foreground, slightly at the left are two white horses, standing in profile, absolutely quiet, though wholly unharnessed and unhitched. In front of them, slightly farther back in the scene are three half-nude Arab women, one standing with arm on hip, facing her two companions, who are sitting and half-lying on the ground. Behind them and the sands of the foreground, are three or four umbrella-sort of tents and back of them the oasis with a few picturesque trees and wooded mounds, and beyond a line of blue hills against the luminous sky. Toward the end of his life Fromentin was accused of painting an East Parisianized, and this picture is hardly up to his earlier Poems of the Desert.

For whatever this lawyer-writer-painter did he was a true poet. In colouring he was always charming, and his aim was to give not only local character and colour to his Eastern scenes but to give them besides a breadth and largeness of vision which to his mind painting was in danger of losing. It was in 1847, after four years in Algeria that his picture Gorges de la Chiffa was exhibited and at the same time his ” L’Été dans le Sahara ” was published. Sainte-Beuve said of him ” He paints in two languages and is an amateur in neither. The two are in accord — he passes from one to the other with facility.” As a critic of art of other lands and times, Fromentin is almost unapproachable. As a painter he has been called the ” Watteau of the East.” His canvases are full of lovely whites, blues and greens. It was the silvery gamut which he felt above all else in the East.

Regnault’s Equestrian Portrait of Juan Prim is not so great a work as his portrait of Mlle. Bréton, his fiancée, but it has, nevertheless, very great claims to highest praise. Painted when Regnault was full of fresh fire in his devotion to Velasquez, this, though not accepted by the sitter, is one of the notable portraits of the century. It represents the general seated on a backing Andalusian horse, his head uncovered, his troops lightly indicated behind him. The general himself called it ” A dirty fellow with unwashed face.” But in the Salon of 1869 it was tremendously admired and called ” Most magnificently rendered.”

The Romans of the Decadence by Couture is a picture of an orgy, held in a Corinthian hall, decorated with statues of Brutus, Pompey, Cato and Germanicus. Through the pillars and open roof gleams a delicious blue-toned sky. Lying about on the marble seats and standing on the tesselated floor are Roman men and women, the latter mostly only half-clothed. Nearly all are more or less overcome by the wines they have been drinking, and the attitudes of the men and women are recklessly indecent. In the centre, facing the spectator is a woman diaphanously but more completely robed than most of her companions. Of a very beautiful form, with noble lines, she is in much the posture of a figure in one of the tympana of the Parthenon. Her eyes are vacant, her whole attitude expresses a listless indifference that is emphasized by her expressionless face. The model for this woman was the betrothed of Couture.

The composition is far beyond the merely excellent, the harmony of colours is delightful, the mass and line full of curve, balance and dignity. But so meaningless are the faces, so merely typical the figures, so little vital interest is in the whole picture that it affects one almost like stepping into a cold-storage warehouse. If the colour is more rich and full than a David, for instance, that does not redeem it sufficiently to give it any importance.

Couture never equalled this picture which won an early fame for him when he was only thirty. His drawing was impeccable, his design rich and fertile, his colours pleasing, in general of a golden tone. But he was too closely bound to the academic school and traditions ever to reach the heights he might have attained.