Ernest Antoine Auguste Hébert (1817-1908)
The "Italian Models - Hebert and the Peasants of Latium" exhibition, to be held at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris from 8 April to 19 July 2009 to mark the centenary of the painter's death, will bring together his works on the theme of Italy from whence Ernest Hebert drew his inspiration.
A resident of the French Academy in the Villa Medici in Rome, Hebert later became its director on two occasions which resulted in a particular attachment to this country where he spent over 30 years of his life. He was fascinated by those "deep, cold gazes which can only be found in sunny countries, [where] misery has accents of pride and ancient calm, unknown in our country", he wrote. In 1853 Herbert, accompanied by his friends the painters Edouard Imer and Eugene Castelnau, undertook a journey through the Latium region in Italy where he found many sources of inspiration, in the face of a wild, harsh and rough environment, inhabited by peasants with a proud bearing and in traditional costume.
The three artists stayed in Cervara, a small village perched on a rocky peak, which Herbert painted. His preferred subjects were often rural scenes (Fienaroles de San Germano) or lanes and houses (Cervara) and peasant figures going about their daily lives (Marchand d'images).
This exhibition allows us to discover the diary Herbert kept during his journey and which is published in the catalogue.