VINCENT, François-André
(b. 1746, Paris, d. 1816, Paris)

Belisarius

1776
Oil on canvas, 98 x 129 cm
Musée Fabre, Montpellier

The theme of Belisarius was much in vogue from the 1770s, and in addition to Jacques-Louis David, rival artists of David's own generation, such as Pierre Peyron and François-André Vincent, had painted their own versions of the subject. Vincent's Belisarius is reduced to begging, and receives the charity from a soldier in Justinian's army. Here there is no sense of recognition, the blind former general is oblivious to the identity of his benefactor. Vincent also took the unorthodox step of creating a group of half-length figures, an unusual device in France at this time.