Flowers in a Vase with Two Doves
François Lepage ( French, 1796 - 1871 )
This vibrant bouquet of spring blossoms is François Lepage’s great masterpiece. An influential member of the Lyon School of floral painting, Lepage was praised by his contemporaries for his highly realistic technique that drew inspiration from the 17th-century Dutch still-life tradition. Illusionistic details like the tiny ants on the central peony blossoms and droplets of water on the nearest dove’s back are the products of Lepage’s painstaking and notoriously slow working method. Indeed, this still life took nearly four years to complete. The pairs of white doves and monarch butterflies—symbols of love—may reflect his courtship of Julie Blum, whom he married the year he finished the painting. That Lepage never sold the picture, which remained with his descendants until 2012, hints at the personal significance it held for him and his family.
DMA label copy.