Jan 8, 2013
Oct 28, 2008

A Funeral

A Funeral

c. mid-1870s-early 1880s

Jean-Paul Laurens

(French, 1838–1921)

Charcoal and brush and black and brown ink, with stumping and scratching away

Support: Beige wove paper

Sheet: 40.1 x 29 cm (15 13/16 x 11 7/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.368



The macabre subject matter of A Funeral is typical of Jean-Paul Laurens, whose interest in depicting cadavers and coffins earned him the nickname "the painter of the dead." Laurens was also attracted to subjects from church history, and, here, the crosier leaning against the door behind the coffin indicates the deceased was a bishop. Highly finished drawings like this one are rare in Laurens's production. His technique of covering the surface with a variety of media and scratching away for highlights is quite similar to the one used by another artist in the exhibition-Alexandre Bida, in his Café at Constantinople [cat. no. 34]. Laurens utilized the technique effectively in this gloomy scene, where the glowing candle flame casts long shadows and feebly illuminates the columns receding into darkness on the left.

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