A painting at the Musée de Montargis ascribed to Géricault

Ascribed to Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)
Three Skulls
Oil on canvas - 31.5 x 60 cm
Montargis, Musée Girodet
Photo : Musée Girodet

9/10/07 — Discovery — Montargis, Musée Girodet — Besides the exhibitions on the sculptor Triqueti in Orleans and Montargis, and which we will soon talk about, the Musée Girodet has published a short work by Bruno Chenique in which he ascribes a canvas representing Three Skulls (ill.) to Théodore Géricault and which until now was displayed with the name of Henri de Triqueti. This work entered the museum at the same time as the sculptor’s workshop but was not listed until 1937. According to Chenique, the former attribution is understandable as the painting had a tag with the inscription “C. de T.” (Collection de Triqueti). Furthermore, there was no documentary evidence of the work anywhere. Based on a stylistic analysis, strengthened by Triqueti’s taste for Géricault and by the presence of other Géricault works in the collection, Chenique believes that the canvas is without any doubt by the painter.

It would seem that a scientific analysis at the C2RMF has shown that a comparison with other paintings by Triqueti was fruitless. Nothing more has been said. This aspect of the sculptor’s work is completely unknown and since the exhibitions have not shown any of his canvases, it is hard to form a personal opinion.
On the other hand, it is easy to see just how real the similarities are with Géricault’s painting. On this occasion, Bruno Chenique is unusually indulgent with Jacques Thuillier pointing out how the latter had been the first to notice the closeness between the Three Skulls and the anatomical studies by the painter of the Méduse. Let us remember too that this still-life, in its subject, composition, treatment and even spirit, evokes the Guillotined Heads in Stockholm

However, we will simply note in the legend to the illustration a cautious “ascribed to” which is in no way demeaning. It will be interesting to have the opinion of other specialists. The authorship of La Vieille Italienne, already attributed to the artist by Bruno Chenique and which we have spoken extensively about on La Tribune de l’Art, has not been accepted by everyone and is still being debated [1].

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 8 octobre 2007


[1] In our mind, we believe that it is by Géricault.

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