Pierre-Justin Ouvrié (1806-1879)
Oil on canvas
H. 162 cm;L. 105 cm
Fontainebleau, National Museum of the Château, INV. 7074
This view of St Lawrence Church in Nuremberg, presented at the Salon of 1835, was bought for 1000 francs by King Louis-Philippe and sent on the 20th of May 1837 to the Château de Fontainebleau to be hung in the royal prince and his new wife’s antechamber, no doubt to pander to the latter's German origins. The genre of interior church views, inspired by 17th century Dutch painting and already popular under the Bourbon Restoration, continued to flourish under the July Monarchy. Pierre-Justin Ouvrié, a travelling artist, collaborated as a draughtsman on the Picturesque and Romantic Travels in Old France led by Charles Nodier and Baron Taylor, which allowed him to acquaint himself with views of monuments, a genre in which he specialised. Here the painter shows a side aisle of the Gothic church with its quadripartite vault. The light comes from a side chapel and illuminates the foreground where a couple in contemporary costume is standing. Other people are strolling down the aisle. The painter’s palette is reduced to various shades of brown and grey enhanced by the light passing through the canvas in the foreground and by a few coloured touches, such as the woman’s dress or the waistcoat of the man standing next to her. Known as a ‘city portraitist’, Pierre-Justin Ouvrié mostly depicted urban landscapes and monuments in their natural setting. This painting is one of the rare interior views known by the artist, which is no doubt why we do not find the painter’s airy, luminous touch in it when it is compared to the outdoors and the variations of the sun on the stones of buildings.
2018-2019, Château de Fontainebleau, Louis-Philippe à Fontainebleau. The King and History.
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