Painter in his Atelier in Rome, c. 1815

Michel-Martin Drolling

(1786 - Paris - 1851)

Painter in his Atelier in Rome, c. 1815

Oil on canvas
47 x 39 cm

The painter Michel-Martin Drolling studied with his father and Jaques-Louis David. 1810 he won the Prix de Rome, spending five years there. His long career was devoted mainly to history painting according to the established academic tradition.
Despite the training with David as history painter, Drolling continued to cultivate genre and portraiture as learned from his father Martin Drolling.
Our picture represents a young landscape painter drawing his dog. A photo of this picture is found in the Documentation du Département des Peintures au Louvre under the name Michel-Martin Drolling. That our picture was painted in Rome is suggested by the furniture and the red tiled floor of the atelier.
Drolling exhibits in our picture his talent as painter and colorist. Details such as the brush in a water glass, the cracked porcelain dish, and the acutely observed dog are beautifully rendered. The warm light streaming through the window fills the room with calm and caresses the objects. Such details distinguish works of the son from the less anecdotally-inclined father.
Drolling fils was fond of representing his friends and fellow students at work. Our picture is no doubt a prime example from his private circle.

Four other interior paintings by Michel-Martin Drolling are listed in the Doumentation du Département des Peintures, Musée du Louvre:
Michel-Martin Drolling, l'Architecte, 1812, 29 x 39 cm, previously Frédéric Mallet collection, May 20, 1920, ill. no. 32
Michel-Martin Drolling, Le graveur dans la Mansarde, 24 x 30 cm, same abovementioned collection, ill. no. 33.
Michel-Martin Drolling, Portrait d'Isabey
Michel-Martin Drolling, Intérieur d'une salle à manger, 1816, Exhib. A table au XIXe Siècle, Paris, Musée d'Orsay, December 4 2001 - March 3 2002, cat. no. 124, color ill.

Victor Spark Gallery, New York, 1964