CATEL, Franz Ludwig
(b. 1778, Berlin, d. 1856, Roma)

Night Piece from the Closing Scene of 'René' by Chateaubriand

c. 1820
Oil on canvas, 63 x 74 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

Chateaubriand wrote René, a fictional self-portrait in 1802 in London. In the striking picture by Catel, the shipwrecked wanderer René perches on a rock beneath a Gothic castle against whose walls waves surge and crash. World-weary and melancholy, René voyages in time and space just as the artist does in imagination, but finds no comfort and longs for death.

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