Brigand and His Wife in Prayer

Léopold Robert Swiss

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 806

The brigands who inhabited the mountains outside of Rome were known for both their criminal ways and their profound religious devotion. Here, a young couple prays at a roadside shrine—not only for the husband’s success but for the health of the wife, who is noticeably pregnant. Robert was one of a number of artists working in Rome, including Achille-Etna Michallon, François-Joseph Navez, and Jean-Victor Schnetz, who popularized such scenes in the 1820s. When Robert exhibited subjects like this one at the Salon of 1824, one critic noted that he had blurred the boundary between history and genre painting—but praised the naturalism of his figures.

Brigand and His Wife in Prayer, Léopold Robert (Swiss, Eplatures 1794–1835 Venice), Oil on canvas

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