Dramatic Scene with Monks in a Crypt

Alexandre Evariste Fragonard French

Not on view

In this scene evocative of the Middle Ages, monks process into a Gothic crypt bearing a corpse in an open casket. At the moment they enter the stagelike space, their brethren, having opened a tomb to receive the body, discover that it is already occupied, sparking a dramatic stir. The precise literary source for this composition, believed to date to the 1820s, continues to elude scholars, but the ghoulish scenario was a staple for Fragonard and his contemporaries. The painter is today overshadowed by his father, Jean Honoré Fragonard, but he was one of the most versatile and sought-after artists of his generation.

Dramatic Scene with Monks in a Crypt, Alexandre Evariste Fragonard (French, Grasse 1780–1850 Paris), Oil on canvas

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