The Flute Lesson (The Flute Players)

The Flute Lesson (The Flute Players)

History paintings

Painted in Rome, this was the first of his obligatory "envois" sent to Paris, and won him a third-class medal at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1859 (catalogue no. 832).

Both subject and treatment point up Delaunay's attachment to the classical approach: the overall pose is a tribute to the Italian Renaissance, with its soft colouring emphasising the scene's idealism. The landscape is a faithful rendering of views of Capri, while the two youths are based on nudes he had painted at the Villa Medici in the same year.

This is, then, a true composition, transposing live models and places the artist had visited into an idealised ancient world.

The following year, Delaunay painted his great history painting, Plague in Rome (Paris, Musée d’Orsay).

Handwritten letters

Letters written by Delaunay to Monsieur Philibert Doré-Graslin, president of the board of the Musée des Beaux-arts, when The Flute Lesson was acquired by the Museum. Dated 15 and 22 August 1870 (Archives of the Nantes Museum).

The Flute Lesson (The Flute Players)
Oil on canvas
160 x 115 cm
S.D.B.L: Elie Delaunay/Rome/1858 - Purchased 1870
Inv. 913