Oil on canvas.
Our composition is a youthful work by François van Dorne - a Flemish painter and student of Jacques-Louis David - which depicts the episode from the Gospel according to John relating the encounter between Christ and the Samaritan woman.
It is in an Italian landscape, Roman if we refer to the ancient remains, that the meeting takes place. Although in reality the scene is set in Samaria - the central region of Israel between Galilee and Judea - it is the Rome of antiquity that most classical painters choose as the setting for their historical paintings and van Dorne is no exception to the rule. Indeed, religious subject matter since the late Renaissance is often imbued with an ancient atmosphere that originates in this Roman home.
Because of their foreign origins and a particular practice of iahvism, the people of Samaria were despised by the Jews. Thus, Jesus should have turned away from this Samaritan woman who draws water. But on his journey to Galilee, Jesus needs to drink and asks this woman to give him a drink. Surprised that a Jew would deign to speak to her, she complies. Jesus said, "If you knew who was speaking to you, you would have asked, and he would have given you living water... He who drinks the water I give him will never thirst again.
François van Dorne was only 22 years old when he painted our picture and he already shows a real virtuosity in the ordering of the elements of his composition. And it is with great skill that he paints the architecture precisely. The viewer attends a holy conversation that resembles a passionate but balanced debate. Indeed, the two protagonists make gestures showing that they are both speaking.
This rare work by the painter from Louvain who made his career in Paris has never been presented on the art market; it has been kept by the same family for almost a century. Thus, in addition to its aesthetic qualities, it has a testimonial value for art historians.
The painting is signed and dated on a stone at the bottom right: Franc. Van Dorne f. 1798. It is presented in its 18th century French carved and gilded wood frame.
Dimensions : 72,5 x 92 cm - 84 x 103 cm with the frame
Sold with invoice and certificate of expertise.
Frans van Dorne or François van Dorne (Louvain 1776 - Id. 30.11.1848) was introduced to painting by his father, Martin van Dorne, painter at the court of Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine, and completed his training with Pieter-Jozef Verhaghen. Having won the prize for "drawing in the antique style" at the Academy, he was chosen by Jacques-Louis David to join his studio. Van Dorne made a career in Paris from 1802 to 1822, the year he returned to Leuven. In 1806, he was commissioned by the magistrates of his native city to paint a full-length portrait of the emperor Napoleon.
From then on, François van Dorne specialized in portrait painting. However, he also painted a number of religious compositions, including the one presented here. The influence of French classicism studied with Jacques-Louis David is perceptible in his works.