Paul Delaroche (French, 1797-1856)
Peter Paul Rubens (Study for the Portrait of Peter Paul Rubens in The Hemicycle, École des Beaux-Arts, Paris), ca. 1837
Pencil and charcoal heightened with white on paper, 8 1/2 x 6 7/8 inches
Delaroche’s panoramic mural The Hemicycle, decorates the auditorium of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (see photograph). He and four assistants worked on this monumental tribute to the liberal arts from 1837 to 1841. Borrowing compositional and thematic elements from Raphael’s fresco The School of Athens (1509–1511, Vatican Museum, Rome) and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s (1780–1867) Apotheosis of Homer (1827-33, Musée du Louvre, Paris), Delaroche portrayed 75 international painters, sculptors, and architects spanning five centuries. These two highly finished preparatory drawings represent two of the masters in this ideal artistic gathering, the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and the French sculptor Pierre Puget (1620–1694).
Delaroche, The Hemicycle, 1841, oil on canvas, 3.90 x 24.70 m, in situ at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris