Medium: Oil On Paper
Size: 35 x 49 cm
Signed: Stamped with the artist’s monogram, M, lower right; inscribed on the reverse: Auvergne
Private Collection, France
P. Caillau-Lamico, Achille Etna Michallon, in Pierre Miquel, Le paysage français au XIXe siècle, Éditions de la Martinelle, 1975, volume II, described and reproduced p. 78.
Achille Etna Michallon, Vincent Pomarède, Museé du Louvre, Paris, Edition de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1994, cat. No. 85, p. 183.
Achille Etna Michallon, catalogue de l’œuvre peint, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, October 1997, described and reproduced as no. 89, p. 140.
Michallon was a student of David’s, of Jean-Victor Bertin, and above all of Pierre Henri de Valenciennes. Precocious, Michallon exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1812, at the age of only 16. In 1817 he was the first recipient of the Grand Prix de Rome given for an historical landscape with his Démocrite et les Abdéritains; a prize that was established in that year in honor of Valenciennes. After three years at the Academy in Rome and traveling in Italy, Michallon returned to France in 1821. Michallon was an exact contemporary of Corot, who was much influenced by him and in later years Corot recognized his debt to Michallon. Sadly, Michallon developed pneumonia and died prematurely in September 1822. In his tragically short career Michallon revitalized the paysage historique, invigorating it with a free style and an almost romantic theatricality.
This was painted towards the end of Michallon’s Italian journey, which had brought up a fundamental change in his development as an artist. Here we see the extraordinary talent that had earned him the prix de Rome, at its best in a sketch which anticipates Corot and demonstrates the brilliance of this young artist, struck down at the onset of what would have been a glittering career.