The Holy Women at the Sepulchre

Ary Scheffer, 1795 - 1858

The Holy Women at the Sepulchre

Ary Scheffer 1795 - 1858


This is a late work by Ary Scheffer, a Dutch artist active in France, where he became one of the most renowned Salon history painters of his day. A pupil of Pierre-Narcisse Guérin (1774-1833) and Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (1758-1823), he employed the pure line and smooth, flat modelling of French Neo-Classicism, whose greatest exponent was deemed to be Ingres. Scheffer's style was distinguished by its highly emotional content: his most famous subjects are from Dante and the Romantic poets, above all Goethe. Later he turned to religious subjects and this picture has a calm pathos in the flowing lines and emotional faces. The icy blue of the Virgin's robe and the warm reds of the Magdalen's hair and dress both work to heighten Christ's lifeless pallor. Painted in 1845 and shown at the Salon of 1846, the painting was included in the first exhibition of modern French painting at the Royal Manchester Institution, where it was purchased by Samuel Ashton, a cotton manufacturer. Ashton was one of a number of Manchester and Liverpool industrialists who collected Scheffer's pictures. A smaller version is in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Object Name

The Holy Women at the Sepulchre

Creators Name

Ary Scheffer

Date Created



unframed: 108.8cm x 86cm
framed: 147cm x 126cm

accession number


Place of creation







© Manchester Art Gallery

Fill out my online form.