Jules-Elie Delaunay, “Moissonneurs-dans-la-Campagne-Romaine (Reapers in the Roman Countryside”, circa 1850s, Oil on Canvas, Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Bayonne, France
Jules-Elie Delaunay was born at Nantes and studied under Flandin, the French Academic painter, and at the École des Beaux Arts. He worked in the classicist manner of the neo-classical painter Ingres until, after winning the Prix de Rome, he went to Italy in 1856. There Delaunay abandoned the ideal of Raphaelesque perfection for the sincerity and severity of the quattrocentists. As a pure and firm draughtsman Delauney stands second only to Ingres.
After his return from Rome Delauney was entrusted with many important commissions for decorative paintings, such as the frescoes in the church of St Nicholas at Nantes; the three panels of Apollo, Orpheus and Amphion at the Paris opera-house; and twelve paintings or the great hall of the council of state in the Palais Royal. His “Scenes from the Life of St Genevieve”, which he designed for the Panthéon, remained unfinished at his death.
The Luxembourg Museum has his famous “Plague in Rome” and a nude figure of Diana; and the Nantes Museum in France has his “Lesson on the Flute”.