Michallon, Achille Etna

Paris 1796 - Paris 1822
Biography & List of works

Paysanne romaine filant au fuseau, (Roman peasant woman spinning wool on a spindle)

Paysanne romaine filant au fuseau, (Roman peasant woman spinning wool on a spindle)

Medium: Oil On Paper Laid On Canvas

Size: 35 x 25 cm

Signed: and dated: Michallon 1820


Inventory after the artist’s death, no. 68 ‘étude peinte sur papier collé sur toile : Villageoise[…] filant au fuseau’; Sale after the artist’s death, no. 68; Collection of King Louis-Philippe at the Château de Neuilly until its location was lost in February 1848; Galerie Heim-Gairac, Paris; Galerie Nystad, Den Haag, 1980; Sotheby’s London, 29 May 1985 ; Private Collection, Germany.


J. Valout, Notices historiques sur les tableaux de la Galerie de S.A.R. Monseigneur le duc d’Orléans, dédiée à S.A.R. Madame la duchesse d’Orléans, Paris, 1826, vol. 1; the Exhibition catalogue Achille-Etna Michallon, Musée du Louvre, March 10 to June 10, 1994, No. 61, S. 181; Blandine Lesage, Achille-Etna Michallon (1796-1822), Catalogue de l`œuvre peint, extrait de la Gazette des Beaux-arts, Octobre 1997, no. 42, Abb. S. 124.

These two studies, part of a series the young artist painted while at the Academy in Rome, Michallon’s prize for winning the 1785 competition, and while traveling in Italy, were painted towards the end of Michallon’s journey. The trip produced an elementary change in Michallon’s development as an artist; in these figure sketches we see the extraordinary talent that had earned the young artist the prix de Rome, but also the loosely modeled, yet detailed and richly-colored style, that anticipates Corot. Struck down at the onset of what would have been a glittering career just two years later, we know, from letters, Michallon’s exact course through Italy in 1820: these sketches were painted either in Sicily at the beginning of 1820, or outside Rome, where Michallon had returned by September of that year.

Three figure sketches from this series are in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and one in the Musée des Beaux Arts, Orléans.