Materials and technics: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: H. 610 x w. 420 cm
Inscriptions : Signed and dated lower left: "G. Doré 1879"
Inventory number: PDUT1438
Acquisition details: Purchased using interest from the Dutuit bequest, 1984
In the Christian tradition, the Ascension of Christ concludes Jesus’ work on earth with his entry into the celestial sphere after his crucifixion and resurrection. Doré depicts Christ, in glory but still human, with wide open arms and surrounded by a multitude of angels gesticulating theatrically.
The earthly world, which can be seen in the distance through the clouds, takes on the appearance of a wild and grandiose landscape inspired by the Scottish Highlands, which Doré discovered during a trip to Scotland in 1873. The painter thus gives the biblical account a dimension which is both concrete and dreamlike, placing the onlooker far away from the Earth, amidst the Angels.
In 1866 Doré rented a former gymnasium which he transformed into a studio at 3 Rue Bayard in Paris. An outstanding, self-taught drawer, he had an extraordinary capacity for artistic creation, and painted large format works here which expressed his desire to be recognised as a painter. Rebuffed by the criticism in France, this monumental piece received a more favourable reception in London and then in the United States, where Doré sent a number of his paintings as soon as they were finished during the last years of his life.
For this reason, Doré’s painting is little represented in French collections. The Petit Palais is one of the rare museums, along with those of Strasbourg, Bourg-en-Bresse and Nantes, which can exhibit to the public some of the gigantic religious paintings from the Doré Gallery.
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