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Portrait of the Artist
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L'Hémicycle des Arts

Signed and dated 1866

RCIN 405399

This is a replica of the semicircular mural in the Salle des Prix of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, which depicts great artists, sculptors, architects and engravers from Antiquity to the eighteenth century. The Salle des Prix was the auditorium where art students were awarded prizes, and the mural was one of the most celebrated paintings of its day, frequented visited by travellers and much discussed in periodicals of the time.

Enthroned in the centre of the composition are the most esteemed artistic figures of Ancient Greece: the architect Ictinus, the painter Apelles and the sculptor Phidias. In front of them four female figures personify Gothic, Greek, Roman and Renaissance art, while Fame distributes laurel wreaths to the next generation of prize winners. On the left are those painters particularly admired for their use of colour including Rubens, Rembrandt and Titian. Next come the sculptors including Benvenuto Cellini and Donatello. To the right of the central group are the architects, among them are Bramante, Palladio and Inigo Jones. Finally, the group on the right represents those artists most admired for their draughtsmanship, including Leonardo, Raphael and Dürer. Many of the likenesses are based on self-portraits, while others are derived from published sources including the illustrated edition of Vasari's Lives.

    The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.