Many 19th-century artists depicted the decline and fall of

6/17/2021, 1:23:58 PM
Many 19th-century artists depicted the decline and fall of ancient Rome as a parable of moral and political decay. Reflecting the enduring Romantic fascination with the shadowy underside of history, Jean-Paul Laurens' paintings were quite popular in his day and brought him considerable success. Such is the case with his vivid portrayal of the boy-emperor Honorius Flavius (384-423) who was the son of the Roman emperor Theodosius I. At his father's death, Honorius - barely eleven years old - inherited the imperial throne together with his brother Arcadius. The two divided the crumbling empire between them, and Honorius became Emperor of the West. During Honoris' inept and chaotic reign, the western empire inexorably declined; it was repeatedly besieged by barbarian invaders, culminating in the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410. In Laurens' vivid portrayal of Honorius at the time of his coronation, the young emperor is characterized as a helpless, dimwitted child overwhelmed by the forces of history. When the painting was exhibited at the 1880 Salon, it was unanimously praised for its brilliant colorism and sharply moralizing tone. Among the painting’s many admirers was the American artist Edwin Blashfield, who applauded Laurens' satiric depiction of "the vacant-faced boy-emperor of the west, the very symbol of decadence and of a shrunken empire, a child muffled and lost in the imperial mantle, sitting stupid with inert dangling legs upon his throne, and unable to hold up the heavy glove and scepter." The Late Empire: Honorius, 1880 by Jean-Paul Laurens. 🏛️: Chrysler Museum of Art #arteesamor #historyofart #arthistory #artee #19thcentury #masterpiece #19thcenturyart #academicart #academicism #realismo #emperor #honorius #ancientrome #rome #roma #symbolisme #beautiful #details #artdetails #artwork #throne #chryslermuseum #oilportrait #oilpainting #artgallery #artlovers #ancienthistory #ancientart #coronation

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