Jules-Joseph Lefebvre French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800

Graziella is the title character of a novel by Alphonse de Lamartine that recounts the tragic affair between a young French man and the beautiful granddaughter of a Neapolitan fisherman. At the end of the story, the heroine dies of grief when her lover is forced to abandon her. Lefebvre portrays Graziella mending a fishing net as she gazes over the sea at the distant smoldering profile of Mount Vesuvius. The red flower petals that have drifted from her hair onto the ground evoke the waning of the couple’s passion and her imminent collapse.

Graziella, Jules-Joseph Lefebvre (French, Tournan 1836–1912 Paris), Oil on canvas

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