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Works by French Romantic Painter Displayed in Girodet:
Romantic Rebel
@Metropolitan Museum

Drapery Study for a Deluge
Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (French, 1767–1824)
Crayon, white chalk on paper; 18 13/16 x 22 1/16 in. (47.8 x 56 cm)
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Installation dates: Until August 27, 2006
Location: Special Exhibition Galleries, 2nd Floor

Girodet: Romantic Rebel is the first retrospective in the United States devoted to this celebrated French artist, Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson, a favored but rebellious student of Jacques-Louis David.  Girodet's idiosyncratic style fuses David's Neoclassical ideal with his own prescient Romantic vision.  The exhibition brings together approximately 110 paintings and works on paper that reflect the artist's originality and the diversity of his works, from mythological subjects to portraits and representations of Napoleon's military triumphs. Girodet will be on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 24 through August 27, 2006.

This exhibition was initiated by the Cleveland Museum of Art and organized by the musée du Louvre and the Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris, in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with the special support of the musée Girodet, Montargis.

The career of Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (1767-1824) was shaped by the dramatic social and political changes brought about by the French Revolution. 

The exhibition begins with paintings and drawings from his years as a student of David in the 1780s.  The strong linear contours and sculptural modeling of these works demonstrate the artist's emulation of his master's Neoclassical model.  Following the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, Girodet asserted his artistic independence in an austere Pietà, painted for a provincial monastery.  His final break with David, however, manifested itself in a mythological painting, The Sleep of Endymion (Louvre, Paris), exhibited to great acclaim at the Paris Salon in 1793.

Burial of Atala (répétition of 1808 original), 1813
Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (French, 1767–1824)
Oil on canvas; 81 5/16 x 104 1/2 in. (206.5 x 265.4 cm)
Musée Girodet, Montargis

Girodet subsequently eschewed the rationalism of the Neoclassical style in which he was trained in favor of a more imaginative mode, ranging from the spectral vision of Ossian Receiving the Spirits of the French Heroes, commissioned for Napoleon's retreat at Malmaison, to the apocalyptic Scene from a Deluge (Louvre, Paris).  This monumental canvas, depicting three generations of a family balanced precariously over floodwaters, secured Girodet's ultimate triumph over David: in 1810 it was named the best history painting of the decade over David's Intervention of the Sabine Women (Louvre, Paris).

Girodet, like many of David's students, commemorated Napoleon's regime in portraits as well as history paintings.  The exhibition will include one of his paintings of Napoleon in imperial costume as well as drawings and an oil sketch related to The Revolt of Cairo (Versailles, Musée national du château).  In illustrating this episode from Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, Girodet gives free reign to the exoticism and violence of the emerging Romantic fascination with Orientalism.

The exhibition also features Girodet's portraits of the leading figures of his time, as well as more intimate portrayals of his family members.  As Girodet was the most talented draftsman to emerge from David's studio, a selection of his works on paper will also be exhibited.

Exhibition design is by Michael Langley, Exhibition Designer, with graphic design by Sue Koch, Senior Graphic Designer, and lighting by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Designers, all of the Museum's Design Department.

French Heroes

Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (French, 1767–1824)

Educational Programs

A variety of educational programs has offered in conjunction with the exhibition including a Sunday at the Met in June and five gallery talks over the course of the exhbition.

The exhibition has featured on the Museum's website (

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Summer 2006
Issue# 18
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