(b. 1774, Paris, d. 1833, Roma)
Morpheus and Iris1811
Oil on canvas, 251 x 178 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Morpheus, the god of dreams, is the son of Hypnos, the Greek personification of Sleep. The Kingdom of Sleep was once visited by Iris, the messenger of Juno, with order to send Morpheus on errand. She is shown descending on bright wings from a rainbow and rousing the sleepy god.
Guérin is best known in art history as the teacher of Géricault and Delacroix. His works are dominated by the mood of quiet contentment typical of the official art of the Napoleonic empire. Paintings such as this adorned the imperial residences, and the subject is ideally suited to luxurious private apartments.