French School, circa 1800
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French School, circa 1800

A classical frieze

Details
French School, circa 1800
A classical frieze
oil on canvas
32½ x 87 in. (82.5 x 221 cm.)
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

Painted on an Italian canvas, probably by a French artist working in Rome, this classicising frieze shows the impact of the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum on European painting and design. The use of a single, richly saturated colour for the background recalls Pompeiian wall painting--for example, that in the Villa of the Mysteries.

The subject, which appears to celebrate the Greek philosopher Claudius Galen's role as Rome's most celebrated physician, relates to the images of legendary Roman heroes created by the Rome-trained French artist Jean Guillaume Moitte (d. 1810) (see G. Gramaccini, Jean-Guillaume Moitte, Berlin, 1993).

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