[The Triumph of Christianity over Paganism]

Method Steel engraving
Artist Herbert Bourne after Gustave Doré
Published London. August 2nd 1880, Published by Fairless & Beeforth, Dore Gallery, 35 New Bond Street W. Copyright Registered. Entered according to the Act of Congress in the Year 1871 by William T. Blodgell in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
Dimensions Image 830 x 554 mm, Plate 948 x 643 mm
Notes From 1865 onwards, Doré began to regularly submit large-scale religious works to the Salon. He depicted Biblical stories such as Moses in the Bulrushes, Christ Leaving the Tomb, and The Flight into Egypt. These works, however, do not appear to have been the result of a theological conviction, but motivated by commercial considerations. Such is the case with The Triumph of Christianity over Paganism. To honour the launch of the Doré Gallery in 1868, the managers of the institution, Fairless and Beeforth, commissioned Doré to paint a ten feet high canvas displaying a multitude of Pagan deities reeling before a triumphant Christ. It is from this work that this print derives. A clause in Doré's contract stipulated that he would also make a watercolour version of the picture for an engraver to work from, and that he would receive fifteen percent of the entrance fees, engraving and catalogue sales.

In Doré's work, the image is bisected into broad planes of light and dark. The figure of Christ is the source of this light. He carries his cross and is surrounded by a host of angels, who form a great circle, and bare swords and shields as they prepare to attack. In the shadows below them, a host of pagan deities scatter. Jove and his thunderbolt heads a cast of the Roman pantheon of Gods. To his right, Helios can be seen in his chariot, though his shining aureole is extinguished in the darkness. Elsewhere, serpents, cows and human-faced chimera abound. In the centre, a crown is dislodged and falls to the floor.

Printed on india-laid paper with Artists Proof blindstamp in bottom left, and with pencil signatures of Doré and Bourne below image.

Herbert Bourne (1820 - 1907) was a British line engraver who worked in London. He exhibited from 1831 to 1855, and then at the Royal Academy from 1859 to 1885.

Paul Gustave Doré (1832 -1883) was a French artist, engraver, illustrator and sculptor. Doré was born in Strasbourg and began work as a literary illustrator in Paris. He won commissions to depict scenes from texts by Rabelais, Balzac, Milton and Dante. This was followed by work for British publishers. Amongst these commissions, Doré was charged with the task of producing a new illustrated English Bible. The English Bible, published in 1866, was a great success. Playing upon this popularity, Doré had a major exhibition of his work in London in 1867; a show which subsequently laid the foundations for the Doré Gallery in Bond Street.

Condition: Ink stain below inscription at bottom of plate. Time toning and staining to margins. Tears and creases to edges of sheet, not affecting plate. Otherwise an excellent dark impression.
Framing unmounted
Price £700.00
Stock ID 51554