Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Assassination of the Duc de Guise (1834)

Paul Delaroche: The Assassination of the Duc de Guise in the Château of Blois in 1588

Another gloomy death scene from Delaroche - it seems to have been his specialty.

The Duke of Orléans, elder brother of the Duke of Aumale, commissioned this painting. It is inspired by the opera of Scribe and Meyerbeer, The Huguenots; hence the reason why the protagonists are lined up as if standing on a theater stage. The romantics loved to get inspiration from dramatic episodes of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The painting of Delaroche represents the moment when Henri III appears from behind the curtain where he was hiding to witness the death of his enemy; around him, the conspirators are rushing, every member of the Forty Five, the King's personal guard, while the corpse of the Duke of Guise occupies all of stage right. The atmosphere is dark and gloomy, in keeping with the represented subject. The historical details strive for authenticity; the opera's setting, Dieterle, is said to have contributed to the architectural part. The painting, commissioned in 1833, was delivered in May 1834 and exhibited at the Salon of 1835.   [Domaine de Chantilly]

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