Regnault's Automedon with the Horses of Achilles Henri Regnault's Automedon with the Horses of Achilles looms large in the East wing of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. The painting is over ten feet by ten feet in area and is truly spectacular. It is impossible to miss this massive work of art when walking through the hall. The painting is encased by a beautiful wooden frame and hangs in between many other outstanding paintings. This paper will cover a description of the painting, the meaning of the painting, and the background of how the painting was brought to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I selected this picture because as soon as I walked into the Evans wing it jumped right out at me.
The paintings huge size and grandeur drew my attention. I like the use of bold colors and strong details. The painting evokes an image of power with the muscled Automedon holding two giant horses. Full of youthful fire and passion, this mammoth painting was painted while Regnault, the son of the director of the Sevres porcelain manufactory, was a student in Rome. 2. Derived from Homer's epic, the Iliad, the painting depicts Automedon, chariot driver for Achilles, struggling to control Xanthous and Bali os, the horses that will carry the Greek hero into his final, fatal battle.
Exhibited around the United States in the 1870 s and 1880 s, the painting was called "highly seasoned and unhealthful food which renders the palette insensitive to the milder flavors of what is wholesome." Following petitions by Boston artists and art students, this work was purchased by public subscription and presented to the Museum of Fine Arts in 1890. (web) Henri Regnault wowed the art world with this painting owing to it's unusual color scheme. The science of oil painting came to it's full fruition in the nineteenth century. The palette now included dazzling colors which could electrify a painting. First a student of Cabanel's and later influenced by Mariano Fortune y Marshal, Regnault was one of the rising stars of the Romantic movement. He lived a passionate life, traveling to the Middle East even though he was broke, hanging out in Spain as it rose up against Queen Isabella the Second, he loved excitement and adventure.
Henri Regnault predicted that he would not live long. Less than a year after this painting was completed his prediction came true; while fighting in the Franco-Prussian war, even 3. though he was exempt from military service because of his artist status, he died in the battle of Buzenfal at the age of twenty eight. (web) The painting is very expressive as it shows the strength of the humanity and nature. The human is actually winning this battle with the horses. The dark colors also accompany this idea.
The lighting is rather dim in this painting with a stormy sky above. The perspective is from floor level making the viewer look up in order to appreciate the full specter of this painting. The massive size of the painting proves that Regnault is trying to express power and strength. One of the Museum's most important nineteenth-century paintings, Henri Regnault's Automedon with the Horses of Achilles, has returned to view for the first time in many years in a new installation in the Evans Wing. Regnault's work, completed while the painter was a student in Rome, was sent to the Paris Salon exhibition of 1868. The painting shows Automedon, chariot driver for the Greek warrior Achilles.
As Regnault wrote, 'The horses, aware that their master is taking them into combat, and that this combat will cost him his life, struggle and wrest with the groom I wanted to give the picture a foretaste of disaster.' Acquired in the 1870 s by an American collector, the enormous 4. Automedon was praised as 'the grandest painting in America.' Before Automedon could return to view this year, conservator Rhona MacBeth undertook a three-year process of cleaning and restoring the painting, while Andrew Haines repaired the painting's monumental original frame. Madame de Jurjewicz, a Polish noblewoman who settled in France during the Second Empire, sat for Winter halter in Paris in 1860. The artist, unofficial court portraitist in both London and Paris, adapted portrait styles of the eighteenth century, placing his elegant sitter in creamy white against a dramatic blue sky. The oval painting, in its dazzling original frame, was in the collection of Madame de Jurjewicz's descendants until it was acquired by the Museum in 1998.
Henri Regnault's Automedon with the Horses of Achilles is a very beautiful painting. The immense size of the painting brings power and strength to all that view it. 5. Works Cited web.