The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Assumption of the Virgin
  • Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (1758 - 1823)
  • The Assumption of the Virgin
  • France
  • c. 1816 - 1819
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Object size: 32.3 x 24.2 cm
    Image size: 31.3 x 21 cm
    with frame, Object size: 57 x 45 x 12 cm
  • P272
  • West Gallery III
Further Reading
  • One of numerous oil sketches and drawings preparing the altarpiece for the royal chapel ion the ground-floor of the North wing of the Tuileries (Paris, Musée du Louvre). Prud'hon was commissioned in 1816 to paint an altarpiece replacing an earlier composition of 1806 by Charles-Nicaise Perrin. Its subject, the dedication of conquered army flags was no longer politically appropriate after the fall of Napoleon and the French defeat. A first version of the composition is documented ina drawing in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The Wallace Collection sketch was part of a second planning stage showing the Virgin frontally. At the end, the two larger angels no longer support the Virgin's arms but adore her. The altarpiece was shown at the Salon of 1819, installed and dated in 1820. The picture received mixed reviews at the Salon, but became the most copied French painting at the Louvre after 1848. The composition is based on baroque Bolognese models, but in particular on Poussin's renderin g of the same subject (Paris, Musée du Louvre).
    According to the thirteenth-century Golden Legend, the Virgin Mary was borne up to heaven by angels three days after her death.