Lecture: Paul Delaroche’s Egyptian Excursion: The Studies in Preparation for Moses on the Nile (1853)

Professor Stephen Bannstephenbanndelarocheimage

Emeritus Professor of History of Art, Research
Fellow in History of Art (Historical Studies)
University of Bristol

London, 14 December 2016, 5:30 pm

Admission free; please register for this event on our Eventbrite page here.

Warburg Institute
Woburn Square
London WC1H 0AB

Paul Delaroche’s drawings and oil studies reveal his tendency to ponder a range of different iconographic sources over a long period.The preparation of his Moses on the Nile is a particularly interesting example, since some of the original drawings in the Louvre are customarily attributed to the early 1840s, while the large painting (originally in the collection of Baron James de Rothschild, but now lost) is dated 1853. A drawing that has recently come to light indicates Delaroche’s initial debt to the paintings on the subject by Nicolas Poussin.

 Delaroche has clearly considered well-known works such as his Moïse sauvé des eaux (Louvre), and the reproductive prints derived from them. He has also taken into account the Apocryphal sources for the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, and the traditional pairing of this subject with the ‚Finding of Moses‘. Yet Delaroche’s interest in defining an archaeologically exact context for his Egyptian subject may also reflect the contemporary French interest in Egyptian monuments, and in particular the journey of his father-in-law, Horace Vernet, to Egypt in 1839. In the final painting of 1853 (known through the engraving by Louis Henriuquel-Dupont), such contextual details are finally eliminated in favour of a focus on local vegetation, and a direct psychological appeal to the spectator.


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