Evariste Luminais (French, 1821-1896)
Merovingians Attacking a Wild Dog, ca. 1875-85
Oil on canvas, 23 1/4 x 33 1/2 in.
A student of history painter Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) and animalier Constant Troyon (1810-1865), Luminais ultimately specialized in scenes from ancient French history, particularly the age of the Merovingians, a dynasty of Frankish kings that ruled from 481 to 751 AD. Early in his career, Luminais painted several contemporary hunting and peasant scenes set in his native Brittany. By adding a historical dimension to such works, he raised these genre scenes to the level of history painting, which was generally held in higher esteem by the Academy.