Acceptance in Lieu of Ary Scheffer for the Louvre

6/5/13 - Acquisition - Paris, Musée du Louvre - Thanks to a donation of "acceptance in lieu", the Musée du Louvre has just added a superb tableau by Ary Scheffer, representing Ruth and Naomi (ill. 1) to its collections. This panel still has its beautiful original frame [1] showing quotes from the book of Ruth [2] illustrating the subject, that is the moment when Ruth, after the death of her husband Malchon, decides to follow her mother-in-law to Bethlehem.

1. Ary Scheffer (1795-1858)
Ruth and Naomi, 1855
Oil on Panel - 157 x 118 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : D. R.

2. Ary Scheffer (1795-1858)
and studio ?
Ruth and Naomi, 1855-1856
Oil on Panel - 55.8 x 40.8 cm
Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery
Photo : Walker Art Gallery

Ary Scheffer, using a frequently used method of his, painted (sometimes with the help of his studio) several versions of this composition but the one acquired by the Louvre is the prototype (dated 1855) and was commissioned by Baroness Betty de Rothschild [3]. This painting comes directly from the descendants where it had remained until now. It was exhibited in 1859, the year after Scheffer died, in the retrospective organized at the private residence of the Marquis de Hartford, boulevard des Italiens.
Among the other known versions, there are also two more painted on wood but in a smaller size [4] : one was found a few years ago in the church of Chamant, near Senlis [5] and the other resides at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (ill. 2).

Although in his early years Scheffer displayed a pronounced Romanticism close to that of Delacroix, his style became more subdued over the years approaching that of Delaroche, even Ingres. Despite the severe criticism expressed by Baudelaire, Ary Scheffer is a remarkable artist as demonstrated by the very high quality of the painting which has just joined the Louvre and which will be reunited with other works by the artist, including two religious subjects of comparable style : Saint Agustine and Saint Monica along with a large Temptation of Christ, of which there is also a replica in Liverpool.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 13 mai 2013


[1] We do not have a picture with the entire frame for the moment but we will publish one as soon as we can.

[2] Ruth : 1-15 and Ruth : 1-16.

[3] She was portrayed by Ingres.

[4] Respectively 55.8 x 40 cm and 55.8 x 40.8 cm.

[5] It has been placed on deposit at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Senlis although we did not see it there when we visited the establishment last year.

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