Jul 10, 2007

A Painter

A Painter


Ernest Meissonier

(French, 1815–1891)

Oil on mahogany

Framed: 39 x 33.5 x 6.5 cm (15 3/8 x 13 3/16 x 2 9/16 in.); Unframed: 27 x 21.1 cm (10 5/8 x 8 5/16 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Noah L. Butkin 1982.247

Did you know?

The fashionable attire worn by the subject of this painting is from the previous century. In order to ensure authenticity in his paintings, Meissionier collected accessories from local costume markets to assemble a “work library.”


Meissonier often depicted artists and musicians of the 1600s and 1700s engaged in their work. This artist is busy painting a small canvas depicting a nymph and satyr. The artist’s 18th-century costume—nearly 100 years out of date at the time of the painting’s creation—transforms the scene into a charming historical fiction. Meissonier exhibited the painting at the Paris Salon of 1857.

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