The Shepherd's Song, 1891
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (French, 1824–1898)
Oil on canvas; 41 1/8 x 43 1/4 in. (104.5 x 109.9 cm)
Signed and dated (lower left): P.Puvis de Chavannes / 1891
Rogers Fund, 1906 (06.177)
From 1884 to 1886, Puvis executed mural decorations for the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyons that are allegorical representions of the origins of art. This painting is one of several variants of a portion of the Lyons mural entitled Antique Vision (1885). The poses of the foreground figures derive from classical statuary and relief sculpture.
Shortly after completing the painting in 1891, Puvis urged a friend to see it at his dealer's in Paris before it was sent to America—a signal of the growing interest abroad in his work. That same year, Puvis agreed to paint nine murals for the Boston Public Library, his only mural commission outside of France.