GRANDIN Jacques Louis Michel
Sapho et deux de ses compagnes

1808 achevé en
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 211 cm ; l. 171 cm (sans cadre)
inv. 854
legs Marmottan Paul (testateur) (1932 acquis)
The son and grandson of drapers from Normandy, Jacques Louis Michel Grandin left his home town of Elbeuf at a young age to study painting in Paris. Attending the atelier of Jacques Louis David at the Louvre, he absorbed the principles of Neoclassicism, and this was reflected in the antique style of the works he exhibited at the Salon from 1802, along with a taste for dramatic lighting that he took from his elder, Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson. His depiction of Sappho was exhibited as no. 265 at the 1808 exhibition. In the background we see the rock of Leucate, from which the poetess would throw herself to her death. The work won him a gold medal and glowing words in the Annales du musée et de l’école moderne des Beaux- Arts (1808, vol. II) from the critic Charles Paul Landon. His article noted the considerable interest then being taken in the Greek poetess, whose tragic destiny had already inspired superb compositions from the sculptor Claude Ramey and the painter Antoine Jean Gros.