Anne-Louis De Roussy Girodet-Trioson
Nationality & Life Dates:
The Funeral of Atala
Oil on canvas
35 x 46 3/8 inches
Purchase with funds from the Forward Arts Foundation
On View - Stent Family Wing, Second Level, Gallery 204
Girodet, a star pupil of Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David, won the Prix de Rome in 1789 and returned to Paris in 1795, thus avoiding the turmoil of the French Revolution. This painting is based on Chateaubriand’s popular novel Atala, which recounts the tragic love story of Atala and Chactas. The lovers flee and seek refuge in a cave. Fearing that she is on the verge of breaking the vow of chastity she made to her dying mother, Atala poisons herself. An early example of French Romanticism, the entombment scene portrays the profound grief of the anguished Chactas as he holds his dead beloved. Girodet’s idealized handling of the human figure recalls the technique of his teacher David.