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A Male Académie ('The Barque of Charon')
After Pierre Subleyras
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This is a copy after Pierre Subleyras’s Charon ferrying the Souls of the Dead over the River Styx (Louvre, Paris), which was probably painted around 1735. The date of this copy is unknown, but it must have been made before the early nineteenth century, when the canvas was lined, and probably dates from several decades earlier.

In Greek mythology, Charon was the boatman of the underworld who ferried the souls of the dead across the River Styx to Hades. The shrouded figures at the feet of the figure here are the spirits of the dead. Subleyras’s depiction of Charon is unusual, as he is shown as a relatively young man, who is also nude, unlike literary descriptions of him.

Both Subleyras’s painting and this copy belong to the tradition of the académie. This was the academic study of the male nude in various poses, often with one foot or knee resting on a ledge and the opposite arm raised, typically holding a pole or rope for support.

Key facts
Artist After Pierre Subleyras
Artist dates 1699 - 1749
Full title A Male Académie ('The Barque of Charon')
Date made about 1770
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 134.6 x 83.8 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Frederick L. Lucas, 1925
Inventory number NG4133
Location in Gallery Not on display
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