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Oil painting - The Curé's story: two priests seated at a table
  • The Curé's story: two priests seated at a table
    Chevilliard, Vincent, born 1841 - died 1904
  • Enlarge image

The Curé's story: two priests seated at a table

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    France (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1865-1904 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Chevilliard, Vincent, born 1841 - died 1904 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Joshua Dixon

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Vincent Jean Baptiste Chevilliard (1841-1904) was a pupil of François Edouard Picot (1786-1868) and Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889) at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He specialised in genre scenes and made his Salon debut in 1865.

This painting is a good example of his oeuvre which include several humorous genre scenes with religious. Parish priests entertaining themselves at a table seem to have been a popular subject to judge by the number of similar composition Chevilliard executed. This type of pictures achieved a great success with both French and English patrons.

Physical description

Two parish priests in conversation at a table set out of doors next to a house with foliage running along the facade.

Place of Origin

France (painted)


ca. 1865-1904 (painted)


Chevilliard, Vincent, born 1841 - died 1904 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on panel

Marks and inscriptions

'V. Chevilliard'
Signed by the artist, lower right


Height: 15 cm estimate, Width: 13.3 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Bequeathed by Joshua Dixon, 1886

Historical significance: This painting is a fine example of Chevilliard oeuvre which mainly includes humorous genre scenes with religious. The present painting shows two French parish priests conversing at a table and drinking some liquor in a garden.
Such religious scenes were quite popular among both French and English patrons and were vaguely reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch genre scenes which saw a revival in those years.
Comparable works include: Afternoon Break, Heritage Auction, Texas, 10 Nov 2006, lot 25054 and A Good Hand, Bonhams, London, 9 may 1996, lot 00625.

Historical context note

'Genre painting' describes scenes of everyday life set in domestic interiors or in the countryside, especially those produced by 17th-century Dutch painters such as Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, and Pieter de Hooch. These subjects were not particularly popular with Italian and French artists before the 18th century. Even then, Italian genre painting is mainly restricted to works produced by Northern artists active in Bologna and the Veneto such as Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1665-1747), Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682-1754), Pietro Longhi (ca. 1701-1785) and Giacomo Ceruti (1698-1767). In this pre-Enlightment society, issues of social class, the legitimacy of power and the needs of common people were beginning to be discussed in Holland, England and France and the debates were slowly filtering down to Italy. Bolognese intellectual life was particularly active and Crespi, who was corresponding one of the most notable academics, Antonio Muratori (1672-1750), appears to have created a visual response to these debates. The works of the Bamboccianti, mostly Netherlandish painters specialising in low-life paintings, painted in Rome in the mid 17th century, may also have provided a source for Italian genre painters while the commedia dell'arte profoundly inspired Crespi and the development of this new Italian version of genre painting. From Bologna the genre spread to Venice thanks to Venetians artists such as Piazzetta and Longhi. They drew the attention of foreign collectors, most notably Joseph Smith the British Consul in Venice, who amassed an impressive collection of such artworks and of Venetian art in general and contributed to the growing taste for these in England. In France, the genre was mainly introduced in the second quarter of the 17th century by the Le Nain brothers, especially Antoine and Louis, whose works still pose problems of individual identification. Genre paintings would be reactivated during the 19th century when artists such as Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) whose art was based on the impartial observation of contemporary life.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'The Curé's Story: Two Priests Seated at a Table', Vincent Chevilliard, ca. 1865-1904

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 18-19, cat. no. 48.
Shaw Sparrow, W., 'The Dixon bequest at Bethnal Green' in Magazine of Art, XV, 1892, p. 159, repr. p. 164.


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting

Subjects depicted





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