Andromache and Astyanax

Pierre Paul Prud'hon French
completed by Charles Pompée Le Boulanger de Boisfrémont French

Not on view

Prud’hon—a principal representative of Neoclassicism who developed this smoky, sfumato technique—began this painting for the former empress of France, Marie Louise. Still incomplete when he died, it was finished by one of his students. The subject of family devotion and its relationship to the state is taken from the French dramatist Racine: Andromache embraces her son, Astyanax, in whom she sees the features of her husband, who had been killed by Achilles. When mother and son become spoils of war, Achilles’s son, Pyrrhus, falls in with her; however, as Pyrrhus’s surprised gesture indicates, she rejects his advances in fidelity to her deceased husband.

Andromache and Astyanax, Pierre Paul Prud'hon (French, Cluny 1758–1823 Paris), Oil on canvas

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