Deshayes Jean-Baptiste Henri, known as Le Romain

Deshayes Jean-Baptiste Henri, known as Le Romain

Colleville, 1729 ; Paris, 1765.

Academician and history painter.

St. Andrew Refusing to Worship Idols.

Oil on canvas; 445 cm x 215 cm.

Signed: Deshays L.R. (bottom right).

Commissioned in 1753 for the Church of Saint-André de la Porte aux Fèves in Rouen. Exhibited at the 1759 Salon (ndeg. 91). Confiscated during the Revolution in 1792. Belonged to a series of paintings also in the Rouen Musée des Beaux-Arts (inventory numbers of other works: SR 1 and SR 3).

The subject is drawn from Jacques de Voragine's Golden Legend . The following description appeared in the Salon handbook: "The martyrdom of St. Andrew, when he is about to be nailed to the cross and is asked to worship idols. The painting was intended for the Church of Rouen whose patron saint is this holy apostle." According to Jacques de Voragine, it is because he taught "the dogmas of this superstitious sect [Christianity], the eradication of which had just been prescribed by the Roman emperors," and because he refused to worship idols that St. Andrew was finally crucified on order of Aegeus, proconsul of Achaea.

Rouen, musée des beaux-arts (inv. SR 2).

(C) Copyright Direction des Musées de France, 1994. Cliché Réunion des musées nationaux.