Exhibited at the 1853 Salon, Chassériau's painting was very well received by critics, to the point that the State bought it shortly after the opening. Considered a pearl of the French school, the painting entered the Musée du Luxembourg in 1856. This scene aroused enthusiasm: these ancient, indolent and lascivious beauties in the abandonment of their intimacy proposed to the glances luxury and voluptuousness in a decor evoking at the same time the fascination for Pompeii and the softness of the baths of North Africa. At the borders of the history painting and the genre scene, Chassériau, a pupil of Ingres, also treated beautiful female nudes.
The acknowledged success of the Tepidarium explains why Charles-Théodore Deblois, a student of the great engraver Louis-Pierre Henriquel-Dupont, produced this interpretation engraving for Chalcographie in 1902. It seemed important in the 19th century that the masterpieces of French painting could be known to everyone: printmaking made it possible for the greatest number of amateurs and collectors to distribute them at a lower cost.
All the art of engraving was to succeed in suggesting the play of draperies, the harmonious modeling of the bodies and the velvety hair by simple grooves engraved parallel, criss-crossed, supple or straight, light or deep to give this soft range of blacks and whites.
Height: 50 cm
Width: 65 cm
Origin: 1819. Paris, Louvre Museum
Artist: Théodore Chassériau, 1819-1856
Engraver: Charles-Théodore Deblois, 1851-1910
Provenance: Second Empire (1851-1870) - Order of the First Empire. Gift of the Imperial Library in 1866. Gift of the Imperial Library in 1866
Engraving date: 1902
Technique: etching and chiselling
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