Oil on wood panel
Framed: 50.5 x 40 x 8 cm (19 7/8 x 15 3/4 x 3 1/8 in.); Unframed: 30.2 x 10 cm (11 7/8 x 3 15/16 in.)
Bequest of Clara Louise Gehring Bickford 1986.68
Meissionier was known for his masterful draftsmanship and scrupulous attention to detail. He amassed a "work library" of accessories from local costume markets to ensure that the subjects in his paintings were authenticity attired.
Trained as a printmaker and book illustrator, Meissonier specialized in small paintings depicting scenes from French history and literature. This painting on wood panel depicts a man dressed like a character from The Three Musketeers (published in 1844) by Alexandre Dumas père. Such paintings, admired for their technical virtuosity and romantic subjects, were immensely popular. Meissonier also painted contemporary military subjects and themes and became an arch-foe of the Realist painter Gustave Courbet.
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