National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Annual Bulletin 7, 1983-1984

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The Shepherd Paris of Jean-Germain Drouais

by John D. Bandiera

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Research for this paper was funded by a General University Research Grant from the University of Delaware. I am indebted to Professor William I. Homer of the Art History Department of the University of Delaware for his kindness and support, to my colleague Professor Bonna Wescoat for her help in locating antique sources for The Shepherd Paris, and to Miss Katherine Kotner for her invaluable service as a research assistant.

1 For the most recent, and thorough, discussion of the art and life of Jean-Germain Drouais, the reader is directed to Académie de France à Rome, David et Rome, catalogue (Rome: De Luca Editore, 1981), pp.194-212. The text and catalogue entries by Régis Michel are a rich source of historical information and bibliography. Another useful source is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, French Painting 1774-1830: The Age of Revolution, catalogue, text by Jacques Vilain (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975 ), pp. 400-403.

2 "Nécrologie. Éloge de M. Drouais, Élève de l'Académie Royale de Peinture," Journal de Paris, no. 119 (28 ApriI1788), p. 526.

3 Drouais' death was probably due to smallpox. In addition to the "Nécrologie" in Journal de Paris (loc. cit.), a lengthy tribute was published in Memorie per le Belle Arti (October 1788). See also "Éloge Historique de M. Drouais, Élève de l'Académie Royale de Peinture," Mercure de France (7 June 1788 ), pp. 35-40. In memory of his departed friend and disciple, David erected a small mausoleum (that he visited every morning) to house Drouais' letters. (Ref. Alexandre Lenoir, Musée des Monumens Français [Paris, 1806], pp. 144-145; and Jacques-Louis-Jules David, Le Peintre Louis David [Paris, 1880], p. 53). Drouais' fellow pensionnaires pooled their resources to erect a monument to him in the church of Santa Maria in Via Lata in Rome. It was executed by the sculptor Michallon and consists of a stele with bas-relief figures of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture inscribing Drouais' name below a portrait medallion. For more on the Monument to Drouais, see Alexandre Lenoir, op. cit., pp. 139-147; E.F. Miel, "Notice sur Jean-Germain Drouais peintre d'Histoire," Annales de la Société libre des beaux-arts pour 1837 ( Paris, 1837), pp. 13-14; and François Bergot, "Tombeau en l'Honneur de Jean-Germain Drouais," La Revue du Louvre 26 (1976), p. 379.

4 D. and G. Wildenstein, Documents complémentaires au Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Louis David (Paris, 1973), p. 157.

5 Drouais competed for the Grand Prix de Rome for the first time in 1783. But, dissatisfied with his picture, The Resurrection of the Son of the Widow of Nain, he cut it in half and carried the two pieces to David. David ( ref. D. and G. Wildenstein, loc. cit.) describes his reaction and Drouais' response: "Qu'avez vous fait, lui dis-je, mon ami, c'est le prix que vous donnez à un autre, c'est à merveille, il y a des choses que vous ne ferez jamais mieux, c'est admirable! Quoi, monsieur, vous êtes content, en ce cas c'est le prix, je n'en ambitionne pas d'autre, je suis charmé qu'un autre moins riche que moi en profite, nous aurons chacun le prix qui nous convient." In the end, no Grand Prix de Rome for painting was awarded in 1783.

6 See Metropolitan Museum of Art, op. cit., p. 401; and Jacques-Louis-Jules David, op. cit., p. 27.

7 For a detailed discussion of Marius at Minturnae, as well as a complete bibliography, the reader is directed to. Académie de France à Rome, op. cit., pp. 208-209; Metropolitan Museum of Art, op. cit., pp. 401-403; and National Gallery of Art, Washington, The Eye of Thomas Jefferson, catalogue (Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, 1976), p. 191.

8 For illustrations of one preparatory drawing for The Departure of Gaius Gracchus and the Piroli print, see Académie de France à Rome, op. cit., p. 199. For a discussion, see ibid., pp. 203-204. Rad it been completed, The Departure of Gaius Gracchus would have marked Drouais' artistic maturation, as well as the complete emergence in his art of 'Poussinism' with 'Davidian' neoclassicism. Despite the fact that it was never finished, The Departure of Gaius Gracchus exerted a considerable influence. This is seen in two plaster reliefs (Paris, École des Beaux-Arts) depicting this same subject (executed for the Prix de Rome competition of 1801) by J. Ch. Marin and E. D. Milhomme. Ref. Philippe Bordes, "Les Arts après la Terreur: Topino-Lebrun, Rennequin et la peinture politique sous le Directoire," La Revue du Louvre ( 1979 ), p. 201.

9 Metropolitan Museum of Art, op. cit., p. 401.

10 Most of these drawings are in the collection of the Musée de Rennes, contained in two large bound volumes entitled 1'album Drouais ( Inv. 74.73.1 à 335). Most of the drawings by Drouais (there are also hundreds of works by his contemporaries) are signed with his initial "D". The albums, acquired in 1974, have an interesting history. They were given by Drouais' descendants to his friend, the sculptor Félix Fortin (1763-1832). At Fortin's death, they were purchased by Pierre-Maximilien Delafontaine (1774-1860), a painter, furniture-maker, and former student of Jacques-Louis David. The whereabouts of the albums from the death of Delafontaine to 1974 are unknown. There has been only one publication dealing with the Drouais Albums: Ariette Serullaz, "À propos d'un album de dessins de Jean-Germain Drouais au musée de Rennes," La Revue du Louvre 26 (1976), pp. 380-387.

11 The most problematic of the works attributed to Drouais is another version of The Resurrection of the Son of the Widow of Nain (Aix-en-Provence, Musée Granet ). I agree with Régis Michel (in Académie de France à Rome, op. cit., p. 201) that the attribution of this (rather clumsy) work to Drouais is absurd. Almost as questionable are a medium-sized painting of a male nude seen from behind (Musée de Rouen, donation Baderou), and a version of Marius at Minturnae (Paris, Ulysse Moussalli Collection) that is certainly a copy. An interesting and unexpected side of Drouais' oeuvre has been revealed by two promising works that recently came to light: a Self-Portrait ( Madrid, private collection; see Juan J. Luna, "Un Autorretrato de Jean-Germain Drouais, en Madrid," Archivo Espanol de Arte 52 [1979], pp. 195-197), and Portrait of an Architect (New York, private collection). To this list must be added several oil sketches that require further investigation: The Young Warrior Sacrificing to the Gods ( Musée de Carcassonne); Marius at Minturnae? (Musée de Rouen, donation Baderou ); Unknown Classical Subject (Roman Woman Reading a Letter - Musée des beaux-arts de Lille); Unknown Classical Subject (The Departure of Gaius Gracchus? - C. et F. de Jonge Antiquaires, Scy-Chazelles).

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