The National Museum of Western Art

Gustave Moreau [Paris, 1826 - Paris, 1898]

Pietà

Datec. 1876
Materials/Techniquesoil on panel
Size (cm)23 x 16
InscriptionsSigned lower right: Gustave Moreau
Credit LineMatsukata Collection
Standard ref.Mathieu 148; M810
CategoryPaintings
Collection NumberP.1959-0161
Pietà

While not originally mentioned in the Gospels, the subject of the Pietà, where Mary holds the body of Christ as he is removed from the Cross, became a favorite theme of Catholic art in western Europe. This work overflows with a pious religious sentiment. It can be seen not only as a work by Moreau, but also as a representative image of this subject in modern painting. The dove of the Holy Ghost, Christ, the Virgin Mary, and two angels symbolizing the victory of Christ are skillfully depicted in Moreau's jewel-like, polished precision. (Source: The Digital Gallery. 1999-2006)

Provenance

Charity sale for Christian schools, expert: Durand-Ruel, 22 (exhibition), 24, 25 May 1880, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 115 [see records in the Durand-Ruel & Cie Archives, Paris]; Charles Hayem [red wax seal on the reverse: “COLLECTION CHARLES HAYEM”]; Galerie Georges Petit, Paris; purchased from the above by Kojiro Matsukata, Kobe, ca. November 1921 (Fr. 12,000) [see duplicate receipt from Galerie Georges Petit to Kojiro Matsukata, dated 10 November 1921, in Bibliothèque centrale des musées nationaux, Paris (copy in NMWA curatorial file)]; sequestered by French government, 1944; vested in French government under San Francisco Peace Treaty, 1952; transferred from French to Japanese government, 23 January 1959; entered into NMWA, April 1959.

Exhibition History

1960
The Masterpieces of the Ex-Matsukata Collection, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 14 May 1960 - 10 July 1960, cat. no. 83
1964
Gustave Moreau, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 26 November 1964 - 31 January 1965, cat. no. 52, pl.XCV
1995
Gustave Moreau, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 21 March 1995 - 14 May 1995, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, 23 May-9 July, cat. no. 44, col. repr.
2019
The Matsukata Collection: A One-Hundred-Year Odyssey: Upon the 60th Anniversary of the NMWA, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 11 June 2019 - 23 September 2019, cat. no. 106, col. repr.

Bibliography

1961
Catalogue du Musée National d'Art Occidental, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1961 (Préface and Catalogue Général in Japanese and French), P-219.
1971
Les cent chefs-d'œuvre du Musée National d'Art Occidental. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1971 (Japanese), no. 58, repr.
1975
Les cent chefs-d'œuvre du Musée National d'Art Occidental. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1975 (Japanese), no. 63, repr.
1976
Mathieu, P. L. Gustave Moreau, sa vie, son œuvre. Paris, 1976, p. 314, no. 148, repr.
1978
Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1978 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 68, repr.
1979
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo: Catalogue of Paintings. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1979, no. 203, repr.
1990
The Old Matsukata Collection. Kobe City Museum, ed. Kobe, "Matsukata Korekushon Ten" Jikkoiinkai, 1990, cat. no. 1087.
2018
The Matsukata Collection: Complete Catalogue of the European Art. Kawaguchi, Masako; Jingaoka, Megumi, eds. vol. 1: Paintings, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2018, cat. no. 810, col. repr.

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