(Paris 1796 - Paris 1822)
A Procession of Monks in the Countryside near Naples
Signed and dated Michallon / 1822 at the lower right.
Further inscribed Michallon 1822 on the mount.
192 x 272 mm. (7 5/8 x 10 3/4 in.) [sight]
Drawn in the year of the artist’s early death, after he had left Italy and returned to France, this atmospheric landscape should be seen as a souvenir of Italy, rather than a strictly topographical view. A stylistically comparable pen and wash drawing – a depiction of The Tomb of Virgil in Naples, signed and dated 1822 - is in the Louvre, while likewise similar in technique, size and date is a landscape drawing of Peasants Gathering Fruit near Naples, also dated 1822, in a private American collection. Also similar is a landscape with the town of Isola del Liri, likewise dated 1822, in the collection of the Albertina in Vienna.
The present sheet is likely to have been among the contents of the artist’s studio dispersed in the posthumous vente Michallon of December 1822. It later entered the collection of the Rouen merchant and archaeologist Louis Deglatigny (1854-1936), who assembled an extensive collection of paintings and drawings, as well as books and prints, much of which was sold in five auctions in Paris in 1937. This drawing, however, remained with the collector’s descendants until 2019.
Michallon was a pensionnaire in Rome between 1818 and 1821, and the landscape paintings he sent to the Salons from Italy were well received by critics, many of whom regarded him as the most promising young landscape painter of his generation. During his return trip to France in 1821 Michallon made drawings of picturesque towns in Italy and Switzerland, and soon after his arrival in Paris opened a teaching studio. Among his pupils was the young Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, who was of the same age, and who studied with him for a brief period until Michallon’s early death from pneumonia in September 1822, a month shy of his twenty-sixth birthday. A sale of the contents of the painter’s studio, held a few weeks after his death, included some four hundred paintings and oil sketches, as well as around seven hundred drawings and nineteen sketchbooks. In 1994 an exhibition devoted to Michallon was mounted at the Louvre, which today houses the largest extant collection of the artist’s drawings.
Louis Deglatigny, Rouen
By descent to his great-grandson, Jean-Claude Delauney, Caen.