Discover all 14 City of Paris museums

» Fermer
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
Fernand Pelez - The Death of Emperor Commodus
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

The Death of Emperor Commodus

Paris, 1848 - Paris, 1913
Oil on canvas glued on cardboard
58 x 37,5 cm

This work is an exemplary illustration of a single subject depicted in a variety of formats, a custom inherited from the academic tradition.
A very complete sketch or replica aimed at the private market, The Death of Emperor Commodus is a faithful copy of the large painting exhibited at the Salon in 1879. The evocation of the tragic but trivial end of the Emperor, a despot assassinated on the orders of his mistress Marcia, can be interpreted in the context of the consolidation of the Republican regime, and as a denunciation of the impasses of the Roman autocracy. This terrible yet edifying subject was rewarded at the Salon with a 2nd class medal and was purchased by the State (for Béziers Museum).

When painting a small format replica, Pelez was keen to introduce a number of minute variations. In another version in a very similar format (H. 61 x W. 40 cm), which went on sale to the public in Drouot in 1992, Marcia’s henchman is black.

The Death of Emperor Commodus combined a Pompeian décor in the neo-Greek style and a fight scene treated in a more realistic way. Pelez’s contemporaries did not fail to point out this irruption of realism in the treatment of the figures, and found it amusing that the model for the strangler in charge of executing Commodus was a former fairground wrestler who was well-known in the studios of Montmartre.

Marks Inscriptions Hall-marks: 
Signed and dated, bottom left : "F.PELEZ [1879]"
Inventory number: 
Inventory number : PPP04975
Acquisition details : Purchase, 2009
This work is not currently on display
The 19th century
Roll your mouse over the exhibit to view detail.
25 / 51