Pallière, a pupil of François André Vincent, was awarded the Prix de Rome for history painting in 1812. On July 22, 1816, the director of the Académie de France à Rome, Charles Thévenin, reported that Pallière was making progress on his final envoi to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Mercury and Argus (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux), noting that the artist "makes a great number of landscape studies after nature, and in the painting which presently occupies him, he has made a felicitous application of that which he has learned in this part of his art (letter to vicomte Joseph-Henri-Joachim Lainé, Minister of the Interior; Archives, Académie de France à Rome, box 23). A posthumous list of Pallière’s works compiled a few years later mentions "a great number of views from nature, of picturesque sites and monuments in Italy, which at the very least attest to a great facility on the part of their author" (A[lphonse]. Mahul, Annuaire nécrologique, 2e année , Paris, 1822, p. 261; italics in original).
The Museum’s study, painted in somewhat muted tones, shows a view in the gardens of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli. It is one of only two landscape oil sketches by Pallière that have been identified to date; the other, probably painted during the same excursion, depicts the famous waterfalls nearby (private collection, Paris). Pallière’s evident interest in imbuing the backgrounds of his figure paintings with a fidelity to nature may also lie behind such works as Prédication en plein air, exhibited at the Salon of 1819 (location unknown).
[Asher Ethan Miller 2013]