The Allegory of the Sorbonne

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes French

Not on view

This composition symbolizes the Sorbonne, one of Paris’s historic universities. According to Puvis, the woman enthroned at center personifies the school. Figures surrounding her represent the institution’s ideals and major areas of study, including philosophy, history, and the sciences. Puvis made this sketch during his final year of work on a mural that he completed for the grand lecture hall of the new Sorbonne building in 1889. The grid lines used to transfer the present composition are visible through the paint.

The Allegory of the Sorbonne, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (French, Lyons 1824–1898 Paris), Oil on canvas

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