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Paul and Virginie

A work made of etching and engraving, from four plates, in yellow, blue, red and black, on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching and engraving, from four plates, in yellow, blue, red and black, on paper.

Date:

1795

Artist:

Charles-Melchior Descourtis (French, 1753-1820)
Jean Schall (French, 1752-1825)

About this artwork

One of the most accomplished color printmakers of his era, Charles Melchior Descourtis produced a body of work that is small and relatively unknown. Descourtis learned his method of multiple-plate color printing from Jean François Janinet and like him used toolwork on the plate rather than aquatint, an acid immersion process used to create general areas of shading.
In this print, Virginie decides to return home to Mauritius after several miserable years in Paris, where she has agonized over her separation from Paul. However, a typhoon strikes her ship within sight of the island. In line with 18th-century French ideals of virtue in women, she refuses to remove her clothing and swim to safety in front of the sailors, and so she drowns in the shipwreck. Her body is eventually found amid debris washed up on the shore, and Domingue and the narrator discover that she kept a locket with a portrait of Paul close to her, even until her death.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Charles Melchior Descourtis

Title

Paul and Virginie

Origin

France

Date

Made 1795

Medium

Etching and engraving, from four plates, in yellow, blue, red and black, on paper

Dimensions

373 × 410 mm (image); 415 × 470 mm (sheet, cut within platemark)

Credit Line

The Joseph Brooks Fair Collection

Reference Number

1926.477

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/28750/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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