DAGNAN-BOUVERET, Pascal-Adolphe-Jean
(b. 1852, Paris, d. 1929, Quincey)

The Pardon in Brittany

Oil on canvas, 115 x 85 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In 1886, Dagnan-Bouveret began a series of paintings on the theme of the Breton custom of the 'pardon', an annual pilgrimage associated with the feast day of the patron saint of a local church. Clothed in traditional Breton costumes, pilgrims would gather on the eve of the feast day for confession, and then rise for early morning mass and a day of prayer. Following the worship services, they walked in procession around the church where others who wished to offer prayers of gratitude could join in, often carrying objects such as crutches that were no longer needed. This unique combination of theatricality, unsullied rural custom, and Christian piety were appealing not only to Dagnan-Bouveret, but also to the countless other artists who would travel to Brittany in the closing years of the nineteenth century.

The present painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1887 and at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.