A Large 19thC Neoclassical Oil on Canvas Portrait of Luigi Cherubini and the Muse of Lyric Poetry by P. Juette After Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

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Origin: French
Period:  3rd Republic
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890-1900
Canvas Height: 42 inches
Canvas Width: 37 inches

The large unframed oil on canvas portrait of Luigi Cherubini and the Muse of Lyric Poetry by P. Juette after the original by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, the picture with added text ‘l'cherubini comp ne aflo 1760 directeur ducon servatoire d’apres ingres‘ and signed lower left P Juette d’apres Ingres (after Ingres) survives from late nineteenth century France.

In good overall condition the picture is ready to hang. There have been two repairs to the canvas with patches verso. It is on its original stretcher and it is marked ‘Juette’. There is one area of restoration to the surface and there is some craquelure to some areas. The picture could perhaps be lightly cleaned and or framed to further enhance it but it is perfectly presentable in this state.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter. Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, by the end of his life it was Ingres's portraits, both painted and drawn, that were recognized as his greatest legacy, such as this one. The painter of this work, P.Juette, was active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and has had work sell through Christies in New York for example.

The original of this particularly striking work is held in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, France and was painted in 1842. It shows Terpsichore, muse of dance and lyric poetry, holding her hand over the composer’s head, in a gesture symbolizing her protection of a man she considers one of the greatest living composers. The figure of the muse was executed by Henri Lehmann, a pupil and collaborator of Ingres. The painted surface of her face and garment in the original are obviously cracking probably due to the use of colours that were too oily, she holds the ancient seven-sting kithara. Luigi Cherubini was a man of melancholy temperament and suffered from bouts of depression from which music alone provided him with means of escape. Here, Ingres portrays his friend sitting and leaning his head on his right hand, the typical ‘gestus melancholicus’. Cherubini dedicated his last composition, a canon for the three voices, to the “remarkable talent” of Ingres.

Much like his music, this is a dramatic, melancholy and moving composition of a wonderful composer and makes for a wonderfully theatrical and imposing neoclassical work.

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