Galatea - Charles-François Jalabert


Charles-François JALABERT
(Nîmes 1819 - Paris 1901)

oil on panel
H. 0,213 m; W. 0,262 m
Marking burned on the back: FRANCOIS

Related works: The present painting is a small reproduction of the Galatea created in 1847 in Paris by Jalabert (unknown location, reproduced in the exhibition catalogue Charles-François Jalabert (1819-1901), Nîmes, musée des Beaux-Arts, 1981, p. 39, no. 37).

At fifteen, Jalabert worked under Alexandre Colin at the École de dessin, in Nîmes. In 1838, he entered the École des Beaux-Arts and the studio of the famous history painter Paul Delaroche. From 1850, he regularly exhibited religious or historical paintings at the Salon. He then dedicated himself to portraits, mainly for the Orléans family living in exile in England. He produced several portraits of the comte and comtesse de Paris, of the duc and duchesse de Chartres (1865), of the duc d’Aumale (1866) and of the queen Marie-Amélie in 1880. Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 1855, then Officier in 1867, he died in 1901 in Paris.

In 1847, the artist illustrated an episode taken from The Bucolics by Virgil. Our panel is a small version of this lost painting, recorded by Goupil’s photography and Alophe’s lithography, edited by Goupil and published in 1847 in the Revue des Arts. Galatea, whose name means “she who is milk-white”, was in love with a young Sicilian shepherd, Acis. His jealous rival, the cyclops Polyphemos, squashed him with a rock. The inconsolable Galatea prayed the gods to turn into a river the blood of his lover Acis, in order to bath every day. Today, a river has his name near the Etna volcano.

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