Painting of the Day

2 Dec



The Duel after the Masquerade. by Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904). Oil on canvas, 1857-1859. Currently on view at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Notes from

In this painting, showing the outcome of a duel after a costume ball, Gérôme replicates, with slight variations, a composition he had executed for the Duc d’Aumale in 1857. It is dawn on a wintry day in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, and Pierrot succumbs in the arms of the Duc de Guise. A Venetian doge examines Pierrot’s wound while Domino clasps his head in despair. To the right, the victorious American Indian departs, accompanied by Harlequin.

My comments:

For some reason it was difficult to find information on this painting, so unfortunately I can’t give many notes on it. But in terms of its formal qualities, I find it a quite fascinating painting. The way the dead body makes a concave curve leads the eye to make a trail from the body’s feet towards the two figures walking away after having won the duel. The dead man’s skin is so white, and I’m not sure if that’s just because he’s dead or because he had been wearing white makeup for his costume. There’s this tension on the sword that he’s grasping onto, because I expect the sword to go through the snow, so there is this sense of motion. Gerome also does an excellent job foreshortening the right leg of the man in black behind the dead man as he bends his knees to support the falling body. The way that the man in orange-red touches the chest wound of the dead man is very reminiscent of paintings of the Doubting Thomas-the gesture of his hand and the incredulous expression on his face matches almost exactly that of Caravaggio’s Doubting Thomas:



2 Responses to “Painting of the Day”

  1. tara December 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    A. Do you think that the artist copied Caravaggio conciously or unconciously?
    B. lets go to the Walters Museum during Winter break.

    • zwray1 December 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Thats a really good question, and it’s entirely possible he at least saw the caravaggio. A Walters visit sounds good. I still want to go to Longwood gardens if we can too

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