Paul Delaroche created a convincing and transcendent image of his dead wife in “Louise Vernet on her Death Bed” (1845, graphite on slightly textured, moderately thick, cream wove paper).
Louise lays blissfully in profile, as both her mouth and right eye remain slightly open. Her elevated head rests on two pillows, as locks of her hair fall vertically to her shoulder and drape diagonally across her bosom. Delaroche carefully defined each curl, delineating individual hairs and shimmering highlights, in Louise’s palpable coiffure. Her pale skin and her lifeless body indicate that she is deceased.
Rather than present the sordid details of death by fever, Delaroche conveyed Christian triumph over death, as a halo emerges from the dark background to encircle his wife’s beautiful head. This drawing is an angelic effigy.
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