Papety, a French artist in Greece circa 1846

Papety, a French artist in Greece circa 1846

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Title: Athens, the Acropolis seen from the hill of Olympeion.

Author : PAPETY Dominique (1815 - 1849)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 28.5 - Width 44.6

Technique and other indications: Graphite and watercolor on white paper, circa 1846-1847.

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Mage

Picture reference: RF 1773.91, Recto / 06-502588

Athens, the Acropolis seen from the hill of Olympeion.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Mage

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

Study the antiques of Greece

Prix ​​de Rome in 1836, Papety stayed in Italy from 1836 to 1841 where his production was strongly marked by Ingres. He returned there in August 1847 and painted the canvas The Duke of Montpensier visiting the ruins of Athens with King Otto in 1845 (Versailles). From his last stay, Papety returned ill; he died of the consequences of this disease in Marseille, his hometown, in 1849.

Image Analysis

Archaeological precision

Athens, the Acropolis is a preparatory study behind the work completed in 1848. The intense and limpid light bathing the scene unifies reliefs, architectures and figures barely drawn in the foreground. The design, of great purity, is slightly enhanced with colors to mark reliefs and shadows.
The Acropolis is represented from the south-east, from the site of Olympeion, a large Corinthian temple built by Hadrian and of which Papety sketched on the left, in the foreground, the remains of a column. The view, although general, is intended to be archaeological precision, as evidenced by the depiction of Hadrian’s Gate on the right.


The beginnings of a Greek archeology

In Rome, Papety had attempted to ideally reconstruct the daily life of classical Greece with a concern for simplicity and archaeological truth. This research coincides with that of Ingres and of the group of Parisian neogrecs - the Cock fight de Gérôme (Musée d'Orsay) dates from 1846. He shares his taste for architectural drawing and his interest in the reconstruction of ancient monuments with the resident architects who, like Baltard, are interested in the discoveries made in 1831 by Hittorff on the polychromy of ancient architectures by studying the sites of Magna Graecia.

Archaeological surveys are still the work of Prix de Rome architects. The Cultural Center did not become truly scientific until the 1850s; The School then undertook its first excavations at the foot of the Acropolis and set up a fine arts section.

  • archeology
  • Greece
  • rome price
  • neo-Greek
  • antiquity


François-Xavier AMPRIMOZ, “The Women at the fountain de Papety and the Greek Revival style ”, Louvre review, iii (1984), p. 196-203.

To cite this article

Guillaume NICOUD, "Papety, a French artist in Greece around 1846"

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