Aeneas Meeting Dido at Carthage (Enée Rencontrant Didon à Carthage)

Aeneas Meeting Dido at Carthage (Enée Rencontrant Didon à Carthage)

photo: Bruce M. White
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About This Work

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)
Aeneas Meeting Dido at Carthage, ca. 1875
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on buff laid paper; verso graphite
12 x 18.4 cm. (4 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.)


Artist’s son, Paul Cézanne (1872–1947), Paris. Maurice Renou, Paris; [sold to Walter Feilchenfeldt (b. 1939), Zurich, 1955]; sold to Henry Pearlman, by 1958; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, 1983.

Critical Perspective

This early work by Cézanne belongs to a group of more than thirty imaginary scenes, many of which incorporate opaque watercolor, or gouache. Cézanne used this medium less frequently after lightening his palette during the 1870s, when he turned increasingly to the study of nature, prompted by the experience of painting outdoors with Camille Pissarro.

Both the watercolor and the adjacent drawing illustrate a scene from Book II of the Aeneid by Virgil, who was one of Cézanne’s favorite authors; as a high-school student, the artist excelled in Latin and ancient Greek, and he frequently cited or mentioned the writer in his letters.