Virgil Reading the "Aeneid" to Augustus, Octavia, and Livia

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Jean Baptiste Joseph Wicar
French, 1762-1834

Virgil Reading the "Aeneid" to Augustus, Octavia, and Livia, 1790/93

Oil on canvas
43 3/4 x 56 1/8 in. (111.1 x 142.6 cm)
Inscribed on Virgil's scroll: TU MAR[CELLUS ERIS]
Wirt D. Walker Fund, 1963.258

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Neo-Classicism: Style and Motif, 1964, cat. 117, as François Xavier Fabre.

The Denver Art Museum, Great Stories in Art, February 13–March 27, 1966, no cat.Oshkosh, Wisconsin, The Paine Art Center and Arboretum, Empire Profile, 1968, no cat., as François Xavier Fabre.

Kansas City, Missouri, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, The Taste of Napoleon, 1969, cat. 24 (in The Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum Bulletin, 4, 10 [1969]), as François Xavier Fabre.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Selected Works of Eighteenth-Century French Art in the Collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, 1976, cat. 25, as anonymous.

New York, Wildenstein Gallery, Consulat–Empire–Restauration: Art in Early XIX Century France, 1982, p. 99, as French School.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Canova and France, 1985, no cat.The Art Institute of Chicago, The Art of the Edge: European Frames 1300–1900,1986, cat. 26.

Publication History

J[ohn] M[axon], “Some Recent Acquisitions,” The Art Institute Quarterly 57, 4 (1963-64), n. p., ill.

Hervé Oursel in Le Chevelier Wicar: Peintre, dessinateur, et collectionneur lillois, exh. cat., Musée de Beaux Arts, Lille, 1984, p. 63, under cat. 63.

Susan Wise and Malcolm Warner, French and British Paintings From 1600 to 1800 in The Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Collection (Chicago, 1996), pp. 175-180, ill.

Maria Teresa Caracciolo and Pierre Rosenberg, Da Lille a Roma: Jean–Baptiste Wicar e l’Itala: disegni dell’Accademia di Belle Arti di Perugia e del Museo di Lille, exh. cat.

PaJ[ohn] M[axon], “Some Recent Acquisitions,” The Art Institute Quarterly 57, 4 (1963-64), n. p., ill.

Hervé Oursel in Le Chevelier Wicar: Peintre, dessinateur, et collectionneur lillois, exh. cat., Musée de Beaux Arts, Lille, 1984, p. 63, under cat. 63.

Maria Teresa Caracciolo and Pierre Rosenberg, Da Lille a Roma: Jean–Baptiste Wicar e l’Itala: disegni dell’Accademia di Belle Arti di Perugia e del Museo di Lille, exh. cat. Palazzo della Penna, Perugia, 2002, pp. 187–8, under no. 88.

Maria Teresa Caracciolo, Museo dell’Accademia di Belle Arte di Perugia. Disegni di Jean-Baptiste Wicar 1 ([Perugia], 2003), pp. 68–71, fig. 22.

Ownership History

Possibly in the possession of the artist until his death in 1834 [an early painting depicting Virgil is described in inventory of property drawn up after Wicar’s death, as “il Quadro rappresentante Virgilio dipinto dal defonto nei primi anni della sua Gioventù”, see Wise and Warner 1996, pp. 175-8]; possibly bequeathed to Wicar’s student, Giuseppe Carattoli (died 1850), Perugia [see Wise and Warner 1996 and Caracciolo and Rosenberg 2002, p. 245]. Possibly Mario Praz [Carlo Sestieri stated in a letter of March 21, 1981, to Susan Wise that he thought he had acquired the painting in an exchange with Mario Praz, Rome, but in another letter dated September 20, 1983 he said that he had purchased the painting in Florence, both in curatorial file; it is not mentioned in Mario Praz, The House of Life (Oxford, 1964)]. Marcello and Carlo Sestieri, Rome, by 1963; sold to the Art Institute, 1963.