Young Couple in a classic Landscape
  • Henri-Pierre Picou
  • Nantes 1824 - 1895
  • Young Couple in a classic Landscape, 1845
  • Black chalk and gouache over pencil,
    on light brown paper,
  • monogramed lower right: HP (interlaced),
    dated lower left: 45,
    inscribed by the artist on the former mount:
    au Docteur Faivre / h. Picou
  • 206 × 253 mm
Louis-Antoine Prat, Paris (Lugt 3617)

Alongside Charles Gleyre (1806-1874), Paul Delaroche (1797-1856) was the greatest teacher and role model for the young Henri-Pierre Picou in Paris. The latter debuted at the Salon in 1847 and soon thereafter received his first accolades. Like his famous teacher, Picou devoted himself, according to the impulse of the age, primarily to history paintings and allegorical subjects. In the process, he sought to find a middle path between classicism and romanticism. In the drawing shown here, Picou drew upon Renaissance prototypes, and not only in the idealised faces of the young lovers. The classical drapery, the stylised plants of the foreground, and the total impression of the technique even recall the cartoni ben finiti from the circle of Leonardo.

But in contrast to these features, in the background Picou created an ideal landscape, such as would only be invented centuries after the Renaissance in Northern Italy.