L’Éducation de la Vierge (The Education of the Virgin) (1852). Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863. Oil on canvas. Musée national Eugène-Delacroix
Delacroix portrayed the subject with great simplicity, centering the composition on the two monumental figures of Saint Anne and the Virgin, which stand out against a background of a landscape, quite probably inspired from the foliage in the Nohant garden.
In 1842 Delacroix visited the home of the famous female novelist, George Sand, and used Sand’s farm wife and her daughter as models for the oil painting of The Education of the Virgin, the scene where St. Anne teaches the Virgin how to read the Old Testament. This work depicting the same subject on a smaller scale was painted ten years later. Here the artist has emphasized the landscape more than in the former work, and has added a dog to the image. Generally Delacroix is best remembered for his large-scale paintings filled with dramatic action and brilliant colors and thus it is assumed that such images reflect his character. Quiet nocturnal works, such as this painting, illustrate yet another aspect of his diverse arts. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no.58)
Title: The Education of the Virgin
Date Created: 1852
Location Created: France
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: Signed lower right: Eug. Delacroix
Provenance: M. Bischoffsheim; Hara, Japan; Tokyo National Museum,1947.