Pierre Paul Prud'hon (French, 1758–1823), completed by Charles Boulanger de Boisfrémont (French, 1773–1838)
Oil on canvas
52 x 67 1/8 in. (132.1 x 170.5 cm)
Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900 (25.110.14)
Prud'hon—one of the principal representatives of Neoclassicism—undertook this picture in 1814 for the former empress Marie-Louise, to whom he had taught drawing. The subject is from the great seventeenth-century French tragedian Racine. Andromache, shown with her attendant Cephise and her child's nurse, has just rejected Pyrrhus; Pyrrhus' father, Achilles, had killed her husband, Hector. Her refusal is signified by embracing her son, in whom she sees Hector's features. Pyrrhus is accompanied by his tutor, Phoenix.
Left incomplete, the picture was finished after Prud'hon's death by a pupil, Charles Boulanger de Boisfremont (1773–1838), who purchased it from Prud'hon's estate in 1823 and exhibited it in the Salon of 1824. Boisfremont repainted the gestures and expressions of Pyrrhus and Phoenix and introduced the vases on the ledge in the background.