The Mourning of Pallas

Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson French

Not on view

Pierre Didot l'ainé's project to revive the art of fine book publishing in the years following the Revolution provided welcome income for a number of David's students. Some of the greatest examples of French Neoclassical book illustration were the result of these ambitious undertakings, most notably the designs for the 1798 edition of Virgil, based on drawings supplied by Girodet and François Gérard.

This drawing for Book Eleven of The Aeneid features Aeneas and Iulus mourning Pallas, who had been killed in battle by the Rutilian king Turnus. The elderly Acoetës, who had once served Pallas' father Evander, grieves over the dead body, while Aeneas comforts his son Iulus in the foreground. Inscribed below the image, in Latin, is Aeneas' lament, "Alas! How great a protection is lost to thee, Ausonia [Italy], and what a loss to thee, Iulus!"

Responding to the restricted format of book illustration, Girodet reduced Virgil's cast of characters to four, standing for youth, maturity, old age, and death. Pallas' corpse is bathed in ethereal moonlight--an effect for which Girodet had a life-long affection.

The Mourning of Pallas, Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson (French, Montargis 1767–1824 Paris), Pen and brown ink, brush and gray and brown wash, heightened with white

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.