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The J. Paul Getty Museum

Belisarius Gm-25807901

Belisarius Gm-25807901

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Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (French, born Italy, 1770–1837) Along a winding dirt path, the blind Belisarius carries his young guide. The boy has been bitten by a snake, which remains coiled around his bleeding leg. With his right arm wrapped limply around Belisarius's neck and his eyes closed, the youth balances precariously between life and death. Belisarius's eyes are also closed, but guided by his stick he moves forward with determination and purpose. He rises heroically against the spectacular sunset, a monumental figure creating a powerful outline against the sky. But the flaring sunset also signals a chill night and the uncertainty of the path ahead.

Belisarius was a popular Byzantine general of the Roman Empire whose promising career was sabotaged by the jealous Emperor Justinian I. In 1767, a novel by Jean-François Marmontel revived interest in Belisarius. In Marmontel's novel, the emperor has the heroic general blinded, reducing Belisarius to begging. He is eventually rediscovered and aided by former officers and his family. This dramatic tale of patriotism, injustice, and redemption was widely embraced in revolutionary and post-revolutionary France and was a popular subject for artists--including Jacques-Louis David (François Gérard's teacher), Jean-Antoine Houdon, and Jean-Baptiste Stouf (whose sculpture Belisarius is also in the Museum's collection).

For this painting, Gérard both drew and departed from Marmontel's retelling of Belisarius's life. The general's young companion is present in Marmontel's novel. But to stress the bravery and pathos of the subject, Gérard introduced the incapacitating snakebite. While Belisarius was typically depicted in the act of begging, Gérard shows him standing and erect, his muscular form in sharp contrast to his guide's weakening body. The prominent helmet hanging from Belisarius's belt emphasizes the general's heroic past and underscores the injustice of his fall from favor.

Our Cards are all printed on 100% cotton tree-free archival paper. All Cards include a recycled kraft envelope in a protective sleeve individually hand wrapped for you. Each card is printed one at a time and hand bound here in Lugano, Switzerland. We ship all over the world via SwissPost. Please allow 5-9 business days for us to make them and 5-7 business days for transit. Art Prints are printed on heavy matte finish German art paper using the finest Canon archival inks. Frame is black natural with a white mattboard and Acrylite glazing.

Wall Murals are printed on 42" matte finish, self-adhesive Kodak PhotoText fabric panels that combine and mount easily on a non textured wall surface. We can custom make to any size, just ask.

Stretched Canvas is stretched by hand over 1.5" thick pine bars and printed on cotton poly matte finish canvas. Each canvas is hand coated with Hahnemuhle UV/Archive coating, these are Swiss quality best in industry canvases.


All our images are digitized from the original negative, printed and assembled in Switzerland to museum standards by our master printer.

All of our products are popular and custom made by hand to order, please allow 2-4 weeks to make them and 1-2 weeks for shipment anywhere in the world.

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Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH.

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