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The Choir of the Capuchin Church, Rome

GRANET, François-Marius (1775 - 1849)

The Choir of the Capuchin Church, Rome

Date: 1817

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 198.0 x 147.1 cm

Acquired: 1979; Purchase

Accession Number: NMW A 481

The setting is the choir of Santa Maria della Concezione. In 1809 Napoleon annexed the Papal States and the Roman monasteries were dissolved. Granet, a French artist settled in Rome, regretted this and sought to convey the serenity of the cloister. This composition established his reputation and exists in numerous versions. He recalled:

'I searched in vain in the monasteries for the sweet peace I had once possessed. This led me to the monastery of the Capuchins on the Piazza Barerini; but the good Capuchines were no longer there....and dust was beginning to take possession of the carved mouldings on the handsome woodwork, which only recently had glistened. The central lectern looked already like a piece of furniture in storage, and its huge missals were no longer opened. Despite this solitude, I could still follow in my mind's eye the movement of all the monks... the young novices, with their foreheads calm and resigned after bidding the world farewell, and ..the old men, with their severe heads and noble countenance on which one discovered the traces of austerity engraved by the time. My spirit was so keenly aroused by all these thoughts that I resolved to do a large painting on this subject'.

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