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Alcibiades on His Knees Before His Mistress, c.1781

Louis Jean François Lagrenée
French, 1725-1805
Oil on panel
20-3/4 x 25-1/2 in. (52.7 x 64.8 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

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Lagrenée's illustrious career began with his award of the Prix de Rome in 1749 and ended with his appointment as curator of the new national museums of France in 1804. He practiced a decorative, yet polished, classicizing style reminiscent of seventeenth-century artists such as Guido Reni and Eustace de la Sueur. This painting provides an excellent example of the artist's work in which the subject is treated in strong colors, with a smooth, refined technique. Alcibiades, an Athenian general, suffers his mistress's rejection for defeating only nine of the ten warriors he met in battle. He was defeated by the tenth.

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