The Shepherd's Song

Artist: Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (French, Lyons 1824–1898 Paris)

Date: 1891

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 41 1/8 x 43 1/4 in. (104.5 x 109.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1906

Accession Number: 06.177


Puvis adapted the pipe-playing shepherd and the draped female figures in this scene from a section of a mural that he painted for the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyons in 1885, representing the origin of the arts in antiquity. Fittingly, the women’s poses derive from classical statuary and relief sculpture, which Puvis greatly admired. His poetic interpretation of historical and mythological subjects, simplified compositions, and pale, chalky colors inspired many younger artists eager for alternatives to Impressionism, including Gauguin and Seurat.