MASSE Auguste Antoine (1795)
Intérieur de l’atelier de Gros
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 82.5 cm ; l. 100 cm (sans cadre) ; H. 102 cm ; l. 122.5 cm ; E. 10 cm ; VOLUM. 0,125 (avec cadre)
achat Madame Berghoff (vendeur) (20/12/1936)
When his master, Jacques Louis David, went into exile in Brussels, Antoine Jean Gros took over his atelier, both the physical location in the Collège des Quatre Nations (today’s Palais de l’Institut) and the students who attended it. The atelier had already been depicted by another student, Léon Matthieu Cochereau, in 1813 (Paris, Musée du Louvre). Auguste Antoine Massé’s painting of Gros’s studio was exhibited at the Salon in 1824, and the artist also sent it to the exhibitions organized in Douai and Lille in 1825, and (probably) to the ones in Cambrai in 1826 and 1830. On the wall, facing the many students, a large medallion portrait shows David in profile, crowned with laurels. Not far from this homage hangs his palette. The same wall also has rope with slipknots. These were used by models, helping them to maintain the posture of their arms without tiring their muscles too much. In 1821, Horace Vernet painted his studio, full of clutter and showing signs of a more turbulent life. This was one contribution to the dissolute, bohemian image of artistic life that would prevail throughout the 19th century. In contrast, the dominant mood here is one of studious seriousness.