Allegory
Date 1848
Artist:Pierre Puvis De Chavannes, French, 1824-1898
Dimensions 58 x 41 in. (147.3 x 104.1 cm) Overall, Frame: 67 9/16 x 50 7/8 x 3 3/8 in. (171.6 x 129.2 x 8.6 cm)
Medium Oil on canvas
Credit Line Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
Description Oil on canvas painting of three men.
Exhibition History"Behind the Seen: The Chrysler's Hidden Museum," Large Changing Gallery, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va., October 21, 2005 - February 19, 2006.
“Arcadia by the Shore: The Mythic World of Puvis de Chavannes,” Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, January 2 – March 9, 2014; Shimane Art Museum, Shimane, Japan, March 20 – June 16, 2014.
Published ReferencesAimée Brown Price, supervisor, _Arcadia by the Shore: The Mythic World of Puvis de Chavannes_ (Tokyo: The Bunkamura Museum of Art with the Shimane Art Museum and Nikkei Inc., 2014) 28-29.
Inscriptions Signed and inscribed: "Rome, 1848".
Current Location Chrysler Museum of Art, Gallery 214
Object Label Pierre Puvis de Chavannes French (1824-1898) Allegory, 1848 Oil on canvas, 58 x 41 in. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. 71.609 The subject of Puvis de Chavannes's Allegory has long puzzled scholars. Some believe that these three men in Italian medieval and Renaissance dress-an architect, a monk, and a poet-are meant to portray specific, famous Italians-possibly the painter and architect Giotto, the Florentine firebrand Savonarola, and the creator of the Divine Comedy, Dante. Others have suggested that the figures should be viewed more broadly as allegorical embodiments of artistic, religious, and poetic inspiration-as personifications of the different aspects of Renaissance genius engaged in a colloquy on the nature of art and the spirit. Puvis painted this tribute to Italian greatness at the age of twenty-four, while visiting Rome in 1848. It was the young artist's first major painting, and it clearly reflects his early interest in the robust, romantic art of Thomas Couture and Ary Scheffer. Puvis went on to achieve great fame in France for his large-scale mural paintings. Using an altogether different style marked by a flat, decorative approach to the human figure, he created in these works a pale and silent realm of motionless, columnar forms-a remote world of dreams that enchanted the Symbolists of the 1880s and 1890s. Yet even in early works like Allegory, we can trace the basic features of those mature works-their sense of mystery, gentle poetry, and contemplative calm.
Object Number 71.609