Signed and dated “E. Munier 1886” (lower right)
Oil on canvas
Émile Munier is counted among the greatest Academic painters of all time, and this oil on canvas entitled L’Amour Désarmé is one of the finest works that he ever composed. It was painted for and exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1886, the annual exhibition where artists showcased the very best examples of their work. In terms of style, L’Amour Désarmé is a perfect example of the subjects favored by the Paris Salon during his lifetime.
Draped in a diaphanous crimson robe, his partially nude subject epitomizes the classically inspired figures typically seen in Munier’s work. She playfully snatches the bow and arrow from the hands of Cupid, who is depicted as a mischievous young boy with white wings. The artist is best known for his allegorical subjects such as this, rendered with exacting precision and incorporating the idealized female nude in classical settings.
Monumental in scale and beautifully finished, the composition reflects the influence of his friend and teacher, the Academic master William-Adolphe Bouguereau. In fact, Bouguereau presented his own version of the subject, also entitled L’Amour Désarmé, at the Salon of 1886, the same year that the present painting was exhibited.
Munier’s artistic training began with his mentor, Abel Lucas, though he would later become a student of his close friend Bouguereau. During the 1870s, Munier met George A. Luca, an important American art agent who lived in Paris and sold many of his prominent clients several of Munier’s finest paintings. The artist enjoyed an extremely successful career, earning medals and honors from not only the Salon, but also the Academie des Beaux Arts and the Exposition Internationale in Chicago.
Canvas: 67 1/2″ high x 51 1/4″ wide
Frame: 71 1/2″ high x 55″ wide