Sometimes artists, like musicians, are called on to replay their “greatest hits” (or “hit”).
François Marius Granet was a French painter, originally from the Provençal town of Aix. He studied there in a free art school run by the landscape painter M. Constantin. Granet went to Paris, where he had the opportunity to study with a pupil of Jacques-Louis David, and then with David himself.
Granet, who was quite devout, was drawn to spend much time among the Capuchin monks, both in Paris and later in Rome. While in Rome, he painted the choir of the Capuchin Church in striking one-point perspective and in the muted tones and subtle value changes that were hallmarks of his work (above, top, with detail; high res version on the Met Museum website).
The painting was enormously well received in the Paris Salon of 1819, so much so that he would eventually paint sixteen replicas of it — some with slightly different lighting, vantage point and position of figures (images above, third and fourth down).
(Painting replicas of one’s own paintings is not uncommon in the history of art; see my post on Gilbert Stuart.)
I personally love the way Granet has represented the pictures and their frames on the sides of the chamber.
The original was purchased by Napoleon’s sister, despite the fact that it had been painted in part as a reaction to Napoleon’s banishment of the Capuchin order from the church of the Immaculate Conception during the occupation of Rome.
Granet went on to become quite successful, and was appointed curator of the Louvre museum, and later Keeper of Pictures at Versailles. His work was admired by Ingres, who painted a portrait of Granet.
Granet retired to his native Aix-en-Provence. He donated much of his collection to the town when he died, and the Musee Granet there is named in his honor.
Though he did of course paint other subjects, including a number of watercolors and views of Rome and the surrounding countryside, Granet frequently repeated the theme of muted, dimly lit interiors and arches within arches, often carrying forward the one-point perspective and overall compositional theme of his “greatest hit”.