Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Assassination of the Duc de Guise (1853)

Paul Delaroche: Assassination of the Duc de Guise

No picture displays the absolute ability of Paul Delaroche more than his Assassination of the Duke de Guise, though small: here, independent of almost perfect art, are dramatic unity and probability, developed to that extend that painting is forgotten, and one can think only of the infamous assassination; all art convention is utterly discarded: the large chamber compared with the small figures; the prostrate body, and the bed on one side; the great space between, and on the other the group of skulking assassins, with the cowardly king, still afraid of the duke though but a corpse. If such art is to be called genre, it is a genre of an altitude to which few historical painters indeed have ever attained. [Ralph Nicholson Wornum, The Epochs of Painting. A Biographical and Critical Essay on Paintings and Painters of All Times and Many Places, Chapman and Hall, London, 1864, p. 485]

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