The High Priest Coresus Sacrificing Himself to Save Callirhoe, Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Image on the Web Gallery of Art; original is in the Louvre.
Uncharacteristic of the frivolity of the work for which he is best known, Fragonard has here tackled a history painting. The work was originally meant as a guide for a tapestry that was never created.
Everything about this is theatrical, from the stage-like setting, to the dramatic lighting, to the expressions and posture of the subjects, to the fact that the act is essentially being witnessed by an audience.
I posted yesterday about Fragonard’s preliminary wash drawing for this piece. I also came across a painted study, that is in the collection of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, with a high-resolution zoomable image on the Google Art Project (images above, bottom three).
Unfortunately, I can’t find a larger image of the finished painting, and the color on both looks off to me — images of the final seem too warm and monochromatic, and the GAP image of the oil sketch seems too yellow.
I’ve taken the liberty of color correcting both as best I can, but this is just my best guess, and I make no claims of accuracy, as I’ve never seen either work in person. You can see my adjusted full image of the final painting here.
El sacrificio de Caliroe, (sketch) Google Art Project