The Wallace Collection

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 The State Barge of Cardinal Richelieu on the Rhône
  • Hippolyte (Paul) Delaroche (1797 - 1856)
  • The State Barge of Cardinal Richelieu on the Rhône
  • France
  • 1829
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 57.2 x 97.3 cm
    Object size: 87 x 127.5 x 12 cm
  • Signature: 'Paul DelaRoche. / 1829'
    Inscription: 'SAINCTE MARIE / DE TARASCON / 1642 . NO.342'
  • P320
  • West Gallery II
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Paul Delaroche was the most successful historical painter of his time. Many of his historical scenes, including this, had a contemporary relevance. It was believed by some historians that the roots of the French Revolution lay in the French Crown’s policy of expanding its power at the expense of its natural supporters, the aristocracy. Two of the main instigators of this policy had been the great seventeenth-century ministers Cardinal Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin (see also Delaroche, 'Cardinal Mazarin's Last Sickness', the pendant painting, P314). Here Richelieu (1585-1642) is shown taking his prisoners, two aristocratic conspirators, Cinq-Mars and de Thou, up the river Rhône to be executed. The setting sun evokes the fate of the principal protagonists. The composition is indebted to Alfred de Vigny’s description of the scene in his novel 'Cinq-Mars' (1826).