Louis Gueymard (1822–1880) as Robert le Diable

Artist: Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)

Date: 1857

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 58 1/2 x 42 in. (148.6 x 106.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

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).