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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Marietta, or Roman Odalisque
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux - Mademoiselle Fiocre
Louis-Ferdinand  Lachassaigne - Vase - Van Dyck painting his first canvas
Charles Durand dit Carolus-Duran - Mademoiselle de Lancey
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - Francis I Receives the Last Breaths of Leonardo da Vinci
Eugène Delacroix - Combat of the Giaour and the Pasha
Jacob Mardochée known as Jacob Petit - Mameluke clock
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux - Buste de Samuel Welles de La Valette
Gustave Courbet - Courbet au chien noir
Édouard Manet - Portrait of Théodore Duret
Louis Léopold Boilly - Portrait of Mademoiselle Athénaïs d’Albenas
Paul Gauguin - Old Man with a Stick
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux - Ugolino
Jan  Van Beers   - Les funérailles de Charles le Bon, Comte de Flandre, célébrées à Bruges dans l’église Saint-Christophe le 22 avril 1127
Gustave Courbet - La sieste pendant la saison des foins (montagne du Doubs)
Alfred de Dreux - Portrait of Mr and Mrs Mosselman and their two daughters
Jean-Désiré Ringel d'Illzach - Portrait of Jeanne et Mrs Albert Dammouse
Octave  Penguilly L’Haridon  - Côtes de Belleville
Gustave Doré - The Vale of Tears
Gustave Doré - L’Ascension
Camille  Pissarro - Le Pont Royal et le Pavillon de Flore
Paul Delaroche - Portrait d'Horace Delaroche

The Vale of Tears

Gustave
Doré
Strasbourg, 1832 - Paris, 1883
1883
Oil on canvas
413,5 x 627 cm

The theme of the Vale of Tears, painted on a huge canvas, is inspired by St Matthew’s Gospel which recalls the words of Christ: “Come to me all you who labour and I will give you rest”. On the threshold of death, Gustave Doré summons up the light of faith which triumphs over the pain and death.

Suffering humanity turns towards the figure of the redeemer Christ carrying his cross. The light which radiates from his frail silhouette illuminates an arid, mountainous landscape. The crowds throng to these steep slopes: sovereigns and beggars, children and the elderly, men and women. Their clothes conjure up the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity.

A cradle Catholic with an anxious personality, Gustave Doré sought calm in his Christian faith. His fascination with Christ leaps out from the paintings in the Doré Gallery. This consists of some twenty large canvases commissioned from the artist in 1867, following the huge success of his illustrated Holy Bible. Like Manet, who was born and died in the same years, Doré was attacked by critics who did not understand either the unusual visionary nature of his work or the visual intelligence of his compositions. This work found a more appreciative audience in London with the opening of the Doré Gallery between 1869 and 1892, and then in the United States.

During its twenty-four year lifespan, the Doré Gallery and its twenty or so canvases received approximately 2.5 million visitors. In 1892, most of the paintings were sent to the United States to be exhibited in a touring exhibition lasting until 1898. They then sank into oblivion. They were rediscovered in 1947 in a Manhattan warehouse, sold at auction and split up.

Since 1985, three of the canvases have been part of the Petit Palais collections, including his final work: The Vale of Tears (1883). Like the other paintings in the Doré Gallery, this work is an extension of the Romantic sensibility and prefigures the Symbolist search for meaning.

Inventory number: 
PDUT01437
Inventory number : PDUT01437
Acquisition details : Acquired with back interest on the Dutuit bequest, 1984
Room 6. Doré and the Christian tradition
19th century
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