LOUIS-JEAN-FRANÇOIS LAGRENÉE | BELLONA CALLING MARS TO WAR BY HANDING OVER THE REINS TO HER CHARIOT
PROPERTY FROM DEREK JOHNS LTD, LONDON
Paris 1724 - 1805
BELLONA CALLING MARS TO WAR BY HANDING OVER THE REINS TO HER CHARIOT
signed lower left: L. Lagrenee
oil on canvas
unframed: 65 x 93.9 cm.; 25 3/8 x 37 in.
framed: 82.1 x 110.9 cm.; 32 3/8 x 43 5/8 in.
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The canvas is lined, and the paint surface is clean with a clear and even varnish. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals some retouchings: minor, scattered spots and lines mainly in the sky and to reduce the appearance of craquelure, including to a spot lower centre just below the chariot. More concentrated retouchings are visible: to a repaired T damage below the central horse approx. 6 x 4 cm., and in the proper left hand of the man beneath it, as well as to a repaired horizontal tear lower right, approx. 8 cm. long, and along the upper right corner. These are all sensitively executed and the painting appears fresh and is ready to hang in its current state.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Private collection, USA;
Anonymous sale, South Carolina, Charlton Hall Auctioneers, 6 March 2010, lot 115;
Where acquired by a private collector, UK;
With Galerie Michel Descours, Lyon and Paris.
M. Sandoz, Les Lagrenée, I. Louis (Jean-François) Lagrenée, 1725–1805, Paris 1983, p. 301, no. 442 (as location unknown).
"This is a wonderfully dramatic and energetic work by one of the most prestigious French artists of the second half of the 18th Century. Dating from the 1780s, the painting was likely made while Lagrenée was Director of the Académie de France à Rome (1781-1787)."
Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée, also called Lagrenée the Elder, was born in Paris into a family of artists. He studied with his brother Jean-Jacques, trained with Carle Vanloo, won the Prix de Rome in 1749 and studied at the French Academy in that city. He became a member of the art academies in Saint Petersburg and in Paris, where he exhibited prominently in the Salon. Napoleon went on to make him chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and rector of the École des Beaux-Arts in 1804.
The subject matter of this painting has traditionally been identified as the Ancient Roman goddess Bellona calling Mars, whose charioteer she is often cited as, to war - here she is seen astride a golden chariot and has handed over her reins. Recently however Dr Christoph Vogtherr, to whom we are grateful, and who dates the painting to the 1780s, has suggested that the mythological subject may be based on a scene from the Trojan Wars (1194–84 BC). Regardless, the subject matter of this painting would undoubtedly have been influenced by Lagrenée’s time in Rome and his exposure to its ancient history.