Attributed to Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767-1824)
One of the principal history painters of the Napoleonic era, Anne-Louis Girodet was a pupil of Jacques-Louis David before winning the Prix de Rome on his third attempt in 1789, when he shared the prize with Charles Meynier. He was in Italy between 1790 and 1795, sending back to Paris his first submission to the Salon in 1793, The Sleep of Endymion now in the Louvre. It was first and foremost as a history painter that Girodet established his reputation, and in 1810 he was awarded a prize for the finest history painting of the past decade, the premier prix du concours décennal. Several of his finest works were of Napoleonic subjects, including the Ossian Receiving the Shades of the French Heroes of 1801, commissioned by Napoleon for Malmaison. In 1809 he was entrusted with the decoration of the Imperial apartments at Compiègne. After 1810, however, he produced only a handful of history paintings, preferring instead to concentrate on portraiture. An accomplished writer and poet, Girodet also worked with the publisher Pierre Didot, providing illustrations for editions of Virgil, Racine and Anacreon, and the posthumous sale of the contents of his studio in 1825 included a large number of drawings for book illustrations and engravings.