Artist: Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 58 1/2 x 42 in. (148.6 x 106.7 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Elizabeth Milbank Anderson, 1919
Accession Number: 19.84
This painting, shown at the Salon of 1857, depicts the tenor Louis Gueymard in his most famous part, the title role of Meyerbeer’s opera Robert le Diable. The setting is the cavern where Robert plays dice with two servants of the devil while his father Bertram, an evil genius, looks on. In this scene Robert sings about the dangers of the lust for gold in the celebrated aria L’or est une chimère (Gold is but an illusion).