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Work The Meal at the House of Simon

Department of Paintings: French painting

The Meal at the House of Simon

© 1993 RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

Paintings
French painting

Author(s):
Pomarède Vincent

This large painting was commissioned by the Lateran canons for their monastery in Asti. Thanks to this work, Pierre Subleyras was acknowledged in Rome to be an artist of remarkable talent. The artist has drawn on Veronese and Poussin - the latter particularly in the clarity of the composition - but has also succeeded in bringing his own voice to a work that is both grandiose and intimate.

The influence of Veronese

This rather oddly proportioned painting was commissioned by the Lateran canons for the refectory in their monastery in Asti, near Turin, in Italy. The work clearly shows the influence of Veronese's large religious compositions, with their intense colors and the deliberate realism of a scene taken from daily life.

Mary Magdalene and Christ

The scene is of the meal Christ shared at Simon's house, where the penitent Mary Magdalene paid homage to Christ by washing his feet. The other guests were indignant to see Christ accepting the homage of a prostitute, but Christ welcomed her sincere repentance and called on all those present to pardon past faults. The artist has chosen to depict the moment when Mary Magdalene is washing the feet of Christ, shown on the left of the painting.

A career in Italy

Pierre Subleyras was a native of the south of France. He studied in Toulouse and was later awarded a scholarship by the city to study in Paris from 1726 to 1728. Like Poussin, Pierre Subleyras left Paris in 1728, never to return. He traveled to Italy, where he remained for the rest of his career. He received numerous private commissions and worked on a number of the religious paintings which ornamented many monuments in Rome. He became one of the most famous foreign artists in Italy, while still maintaining solid links with his native France.
Pierre Subleyras was a history painter first and foremost. He occasionally produced amusing or mildly scurrilous genre paintings, but nonetheless remained a serious painter whose work prefigures neo-classicism on occasion. He was also a remarkable colorist in the Italian tradition.

Technical description

  • Pierre Subleyras

    The Meal at the House of Simon

    1737

  • Oil on canvas

    H: 2.15 m; L: 6.79 m

  • Spoils during the campaign in Italy, 1799

    INV. 8000

  • Paintings

    Sully wing
    2nd floor
    Restout
    Room 43

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