The Pardon in Brittany

Artist: Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (French, Paris 1852–1929 Quincey)

Date: 1886

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 45 1/8 x 33 3/8 in. (114.6 x 84.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of George F. Baker, 1931

Accession Number: 31.132.34


Like many of his contemporaries, Dagnan-Bouveret was fascinated by the religious customs of Brittany in northern France. In this scene, penitents wearing traditional regional dress proceed solemnly around a church; some go barefoot or kneel to demonstrate remorse. Annotated drawings on the reverse of the canvas indicate that the painter’s wife posed for the young woman in the foreground; the mother of an artist friend appears at left. When the picture was shown at the 1887 Salon and the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle, critics applauded its exactitude—unsurprising, as Dagnan-Bouveret used photographs to aid his work.