Delaroche’s Egyptian Excursion: Following the Course of Moses Exposed on the Nile


Thursday, October 18, 2018, 5:30pm to 7:00pm


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street

Annual Henri Zerner Lecture

Paul Delaroche’s Moses Exposed on the Nile, painted for Baron James de Rothschild in 1853, has vanished without a trace. While its memory is preserved in a fine contemporary engraving, an abundant series of drawings leading up to the final composition, which Delaroche developed over at least 10 years, is of equal interest. The drawings reveal the artist’s knowledge of past renderings of the subject, and also illuminate his distinctive method of incorporating paired motifs in his work.

In this lecture, Stephen Bann, professor emeritus of the history of art and research fellow in the history of art at the University of Bristol, U.K., will discuss these drawings in relation to the disappeared work. He will demonstrate that while Delaroche sometimes borrowed details of place from contemporary prints and photography, he also took imaginative license, inscribing the works with his own subjectivity and harking back to his early salon exhibits.

Bann’s research ranges broadly over issues related to the representations of history and the dissemination of print images, with a special emphasis on France in the 19th century. His work has been widely influential, and he has held visiting fellowships and appointments at some of the most prominent research institutes in Europe and the United States. From 2008 to 2012, he served as guest curator for major exhibitions at the National Gallery, London, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. He has written extensively on contemporary art—his early correspondence with the poet and garden designer Ian Hamilton Finlay was published in two volumes in 2014/16. Bann served as the Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge for the 2017–18 academic year.

This program is sponsored by Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture through the generosity of alumni and friends in establishing the Henri Zerner Lecture Fund.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway.

Free admission, but seating is limited. Tickets will be distributed beginning at 5pm at the Broadway entrance. One ticket per person.

Seating will begin at 5pm. Guests are welcome to visit the galleries until the lecture begins at 5:30pm.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.