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Coresus sacrificing himself to save Callirhoe

Painting, 1765, 400×309 cm

Description of the artwork «Coresus sacrificing himself to save Callirhoe»

"Korez and Kalliroe" full title is "high Priest Korez sacrifices himself for the salvation of Kalliroi," the Louvre painting by Jean Honore Fragonard, painted mythological story.

"Korez and Kalliroe" certainly impresses with its exaggerated pathos and especially size (over 3 metres in height and 4 in width!), but much more interesting the picture is not in itself, but in the context of the artistic fate of Fragonard. "Korez and Callirhoe" was for him a kind of crossroads, a choice point the way. The Fragonard need to ask yourself is, who he is – a historical painter, or the free improviser and master of gallant genre? First promised recognition and prestige, the second was given creative freedom, but promised no guarantees.

In the mid-1760s Fragonard returned to Paris after a long and fruitful internship in Italy. The years of apprenticeship ended, should take care of its official status. Although alien to academic Fragonard, who was called "temperamental southerner" and "Provencal gamanam" (FR. gamin is a Tomboy), not particularly attracted to the paintings on mythological and historical themes, it was necessary to ensure that he could be accepted into the Academy.

In 1763 Fragonard begins work on large-scale canvas "Korez and Callirhoe" the story of forgotten Greek author Pausanias of the second century. However, the choice Fragonard was not too exotic: they were familiar with the conflict of a priest of Korez thanks to the popular Opera "Kalliroe" composer Datusha. The high priest of Dionysus in love with is indifferent to him the beautiful Calliou. Rejected Korez prays to Dionysus, in response to the treacherous God sends the pestilence and suggests that all be saved, if only to bring Calliou sacrifice. Vengeful Korez leads her to the altar for jertvoprinoshenie, but at the last moment repents and decides for spasena sweetheart to bring in the sacrifice of himself.

In March 1765, the painting was finished and submitted in the Academy, and in August, exhibited at the Salon, where it was a resounding success. Even sarcastic Diderot responded favorably: "Fragonard painted a good picture and proved that his talent is much bigger than it seemed until now. Painter frivolous scenes discovers hidden reserves of generosity and thoughtfulness". All hurried to congratulate Fragonard triumph at the Academy he is given "the right of Advisory vote". To ravnopravno membership remained most a little – to write another historical painting. But suddenly, disappointing my teachers and well-wishers, Fragonard refuses. He decides not to seek official career and continue to work as a freelance artist, not bound by any conventions.

Diderot was disappointed more than others, he later wrote that Monsieur Fragonard who filed such hope, but fallen again to piquant scenes "don't respect themselves". However, even in "Corese and Kalliroe", considered as the assignment of the artist to the academic requirements, a lot actually ragnarosa passion. "The explicit theatricality of the fabric, an exaggerated affectation of poses and expressions give a youthful impetuous temperament, which needs constant hyperbole and looking out the pathetic outbursts"- writes the art critic Elena Kozhina.

Two years later, after a short triumph, "Korez and Callirhoe" will be created by the famous "Swing" Fragonard is a taste of what panimage and despised the "light genre", which Fragonard forever inscribed his name in the history of European painting.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Mythological scene

Style of art: Rococo

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1765

Size: 400×309 cm

Artwork in selections: 11 selections