Paul Delaroche's Egyptian Excursion: the studies in preparation for Moses on the Nile (1853)
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Paul Delaroche's Egyptian Excursion: the studies in preparation for Moses on the Nile (1853)

Paul Delaroche's Egyptian Excursion: the studies in preparation for Moses o...

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The Warburg Institute

Woburn Square

London, United Kingdom

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Paul Delaroche's Egyptian Excursion: the studies in preparation for Moses on the Nile (1853).

A Lecture by Professor Stephen Bann, Emmeritus Professor of History of Art and Research Fellow in History of Art (Historical Studies) at the University of Bristol, organised by the Bilderfahrzeuge Project.


Paul Delaroche's drawings and oil studies reveal his tendency to ponder a range of different iconographic sources over a long period. The preparation of his Moses on the Nile is a particularly interesting example, since some of the original drawings in the Louvre are customarily attributed to the early 1840s, while the large painting (originally in the collection of Baron James de Rothschild, but now lost) is dated 1853. A drawing that has recently come to light indicates Delaroche's initial debt to the paintings on the subject by Nicolas Poussin. Delaroche has clearly considered well-known works such as his Moïse sauvé des eaux (Louvre), and the reproductive prints derived from them. He has also taken into account the Apocryphal sources for the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, and the traditional pairing of this subject with the 'Finding of Moses'. Yet Delaroche's interest in defining an archaeologically exact context for his Egyptian subject may also reflect the contemporary French interest in Egyptian monuments, and in particular the journey of his father-in-law, Horace Vernet, to Egypt in 1839. In the final painting of 1853 (known through the engraving by Louis Henriuquel-Dupont), such contextual details are finally eliminated in favour of a focus on local vegetation, and a direct psychological appeal to the spectator. 

The Bilderfahrzeuge Project

The research project ‘Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology’ sets out to explore the migration of images, objects, commodities, and texts, in short: the migration of ideas in a broad historical and geographical context. It is funded by the German Ministry of Higher Education and Research, realised in cooperation with the Max Weber Stiftung, and situated at the Warburg Institute, London, as well as at the Deutsche Forum für Kunstgeschichte (Paris), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Kunsthistorische Institut (Florence), and Warburg Haus (Hamburg). Each institution is represented by one of the five Professors who also direct the research project: Andreas Beyer (Basel/Paris) who is also functioning as the reserach centre’s speaker, Horst Bredekamp (Berlin), Uwe Fleckner (Hamburg), David Freedberg (London), and Gerhard Wolf (Florence).

For more information on the Bilderfahrzeuge Projekt please visit our website at https://iconology.hypotheses.org .

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