Friday, February 01, 2008

Clerical Subjects

Alphonse Legros 1837-1911
Rehearsing the Service circa 1870
Oil on canvas
support: 914 x 1168 mm
Tate Gallery, London

Alphonse Legros 1837-1911
Interior of a Church with Kneeling Figures c.1865
oil on canvas; 84 x 71 cm
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Alphonse Legros (May 8, 1837 - December 8, 1911), painter and etcher, was born in Dijon.

In 1859 Legros's Angelus was exhibited, the first of those quiet church interiors, with kneeling figures of patient women, by which he is best known as a painter.

Ex Voto (1861), a work of great power and insight, now in the museum at Dijon, was received by his friends with enthusiasm, but it only obtained a mention at the Salon.

He moved to London in 1863, and from then exhibited both at the Royal Academy and the Paris Salon. At first he had followed the example of Courbet in style, but in the later 1860s came to admire Ingres and the Italian old masters, and emphasised outline and local colour in his paintings. He was also interested in Spanish painters in this period. He painted a series of subjects in church, so recording an attitude to modern piety.

He was naturalised as an Englishman in 1881, and remained at University College, London where he was Slade Professor of Drawing.

He died in Watford, Hertfordshire