(b. 1797, Paris, d. 1856, Paris)

Young Christian Martyr

Oil on canvas, 171 x 148 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Nazarenes painted quasi-devotional portraits of each other and their ideal wives or longed-for lovers, often doomed to early death from common diseases of the time. Perhaps the most extreme expression of this sentiment occurs in a series of religious pictures painted by Delaroche after the death of his wife, Louise Vernet, in 1845. In the finest and strangest of these, the Young Christian Martyr, her features float on the dark waters of the Tiber, lit by the halo of sainthood.