The J. Paul Getty Museum

Classical Landscape with Figures and Sculpture

Object Details


Classical Landscape with Figures and Sculpture


Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (French, 1750 - 1819)






Oil on panel

Object Number:



28.8 × 41 cm (11 5/16 × 16 1/8 in.)

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Object Description

Below a rocky acropolis, two women in classical attire converse with each other. The dress and gesture of the standing woman are echoed in the life-size marble sculpture at the right edge of the painting. Another pair of figures is less immediately visible. On a shadowed pathway, they wind their way up the rough hillside toward the citadel. In the distance, sailboats move in and out of shafts of rain as they traverse a thin sliver of turquoise sea.

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes exhibited this landscape at the Salon of 1789. The painting's Salon title, a general one, suggests that its subject is simply an imagined classical past. This is an idyllic and idealized antiquity where human activity and architecture are in harmony with one another and with the natural world.

probably still in 1789

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, French, 1750 - 1819

probably by 1796 - 2004

Bro de Comère Family (France), sold to Blondeau & Associés (Blondeau, Bréton, Pradère), Paris, 2004.


Blondeau & Associés (Paris, France), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004.

Salon of 1789 (1789)
  • Salon, Palais du Louvre (Paris), 1789
Sur le motif: Painting in Nature around 1800 (September 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009

"Variétés: Exposition des peintures, sculptures et gravures de MM. de L'Académie Royale, au Salon du Louvre (25 Août au 8 Octobre 1789)." Mercure de France, no. 43 (October 24, 1789), p. 86. Repr. in Mercure de France 137 (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1974), p. 458.

Explication des peintures, sculptures, et gravures, de messieurs de l'Académie Royale [...], exh. cat. (Paris: Imprimerie des Bâtimens du Roi, 1789), p. 30, no. 121.

Mesuret, Robert, ed. Pierre Henri de Valenciennes, exh. cat. (Toulouse: Musée Paul-Dupuy, 1956), pp. 11, 31, no. XI.

Heim, Jean-François, Claire Béraud, and Philippe Heim. Les salons de peinture de la Révolution française, 1789-1799 (Paris: C. A. C. Sarl. Édition, 1989), p. 361.

Mantura, Bruno, and Geneviève Lacambre, eds. Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, 1750-1819, exh. cat. (Spoleto: Palazzo Racani Arroni, with Electa Napoli, 1996), p. 157, no. 121, under "Salon del 1789.".

Lacambre, Geneviève, and Luigi Gallo. "Tableaux de Valenciennes exposés aux Salons du Louvre entre 1787 et 1819." In "La Nature l'avait créé peintre": Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, 1750-1819, exh. cat. (Toulouse: Musée Paul-Dupuy, with Somogy Éditions d'Art, 2003), p. 252, no. 121, under "Salon de 1789.".

Beck-Saiello, Émilie, et al. Jean-Pierre Pequignot (Turin: Artema, 2005), p. 44, fig. 4.

Josenhans, Frauke, and Mary Morton. Sur le motif: Painting in Nature around 1800, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), unpaginated, fig. 1.