GREUZE, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1725, Tournus, d. 1805, Paris)

Septimius Severus and Caracalla

Oil on canvas, 124 x 160 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This painting by Greuze is frankly Poussin-like. The artist wished to be recognized as a history painter; he chose an obscure subject to illustrate: Septimius Severus Roman emperor (146-211) reproaches his son, Caracalla for trying to assasinate him. Varied emotions are at work within it: from Caracalla's angry shame to the surprise of the chamberlain, Castor, at the emperor's recklessly heroic gesture which is at once a challenge and a rebuke.