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The significance of the Hémi-Cycle

This is a replica of the mural in the semi-circular lecture theatre or Salon des Prix of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (hence the ‘hémicycle’ of the title), executed by Delaroche and four students between 1836 and 1841. It wa

L'Hémicycle de l'École des Beaux Arts ©

The Hémi-Cycle references a number of key questions that have prompted much debate in artistic literature. The way in which the artists interact, wearing the clothes of their own time but posed as if they are talking to each other, seems to suggest the benefit of artistic discourse between great creative minds, together with the notion of artistic inspiration from one generation to the next. The ranking of the three Ancient artists, with Apelles in the centre, appears to reflect the question of the paragone (theoretical discussion) about the comparative merits of painting as opposed to sculpture. Similarly the subdivision of the painters into those admired for their colour and those admired for their design is a clear reference to the debate between the relative qualities of these two aspects of painting.

The final selection of artists to be included was presumably made by Delaroche but was probably fairly representative of the hierarchy of artists in France at the time. What would seem to viewers today as significant exclusions – Johannes Vermeer, for example – indicate how tastes in the history of art have changed. Of the artists chosen, many are household names while others have been largely forgotten to all but the specialist. For the modern audience this painting serves as a reminder of both the potential transience of artistic fame, but also the prospect of immortality for those who create beautiful and timeless objects that still speak to us across centuries.

 

LIST OF ARTISTS

 

Painters

1. Correggio (1489? - 1534)

2. Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)

3. Antonello da Messina (c.1430 - 1479)

4. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

5. Jan van Eyck (c. 1395 - 1441)

6. Titian (c.1485/90 - 1576)

7. Gerard ter Borch (1617 – 1681)

8. Rembrandt (1606 – 1669)

9. Bartholomeus van der Helst (c.1613 – 1670)

10. Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)

11. Diego Velázquez (1599 – 1660)

12. Anthony van Dyck (1599 – 1641)

13. Caravaggio (1571 – 1610)

14. Giovanni Bellini (c.1431/6 - 1516)

15. Giorgione (c.1477/8 - 1510)

16. Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/9? – 1682)

17. Paulus Potter (1625 – 1654)

18. Claude Lorrain (1604/5? – 1682)

19. Gaspard Dughet (1615 – 1675)

Sculptors

20. Peter Vischer (c.1460 – 1529)

21. Pierre Bontemps (c.1512 - c.1570)

22. Luca della Robbia (1399/1400? - 1482),

23. Benedetto da Maiano (1442 - 1497)

24. Giovanni Pisano (c.1245 – before 1319)

25. Baccio Bandinelli (1493 – 1560)

26. Donatello (1386/7 – 1466)

27. Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378 – 1455)

28. Bernard Palissy (1510 – 1590)

29. Jean Goujon (c.1510 – c.1565)

30. Benvenuto Cellini (1500 – 1571)

31. Germain Pilon (c.1525 – 1590)

32. Pierre Puget (1620-1694)

33. Giambologna (1529 – 1608)

34. Gothic Art

35. Greek Art

36. Ictinus

37. Appelles

38. Phidias

39. Genius of Art

40. Roman Art

41. Renaissance Art

Architects

42. Philibert de L’Orme (1514 – 1570)

43. Baldassare Peruzzi (1481 – 1536)

44. Erwin [von Steinbach] (d. 1318)

45. Jacopo Sansovino (1486 – 1570)

46. Robert de Luzarches (fl c.1220–40).

47. Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580)

48. Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 - 1446)

49. Inigo Jones (1573 - 1652)

50. Arnolfo di Cambio (fl.1265 – 1302)

51. Pierre Lescot (c1500/10 – 1578)

52. Donato Bramante (1443/4? – 1514)

53. François Mansart (1598 – 1666)

54.Jacopo Vignola (1507 – 1573)

Painters

55. Fra Angelico (c.1395/1400 - 1455)

56. Marcantonio Raimondi (c.1470/82 – 1527/34)

57. Gérard Edelinck (1640 - 1707)

58. Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8 – 1543)

59. Eustache Le Sueur, (1616 – 1655)

60. Andrea di Cione (c.1315/20 -1368)

61. Sebastiano del Piombo (c.1485/6 – 1547)

62. Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528)

63. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)

64. Domenichino (1581 – 1641)

65. Fra Bartolommeo (1472 – 1517)

66. Andrea Mantegna (c.1430/1 – 1506)

67. Giulio Romano (1499? – 1546)

68. Raphael (1483 – 1520)

69. Pietro Perugino (c.1450 - 1523)

70. Masaccio (1401 - 1428)

71. Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)

72. Andrea del Sarto (1486 – 1530)

73. Cimabue (c.1240 – 1302)

74. Giotto di Bondone (c.1267 - 1337)

75. Nicolas Poussin (1594 – 1665)

Anna Vinet (active 1861–6), after Paul Delaroche (1797–1856) and others

L'Hémicycle des Arts