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ExhibitionThéodule Ribot

Théodule Ribot (1823-1891); delicious obscurity.
At the Musée des Augustins from 16th October to 10th January 2022.

An exhibition that deserves to be in the spotlight!

Théodule Ribot is a 19th century painter, both free-thinking and self-taught. Little known to the general public, he is very well represented in public collections in France and abroad. Inspired by ancient painting, from Rembrandt to Ribera, he was admired by artist friends such as Boudin or Rodin.

The themed exhibition presents about 80 paintings, including many loans from all over France and abroad. Ribot's paintings are displayed alongside those of the masters who inspired him and those of his contemporaries.

Visitors are greeted by his self-portrait. This painting is representative of Ribot's portraits: it is reality that is represented, an interiorised, intimate painting, without any search for effect. He depicts reality without embellishment.

« In Ribot’s Kitchen »

The first section takes you into the kitchen. You are surrounded by a number of still lifes, including a series of legs of lamb. The fruit, cheese and eggs stand out against the black background of the paintings.
It is worth noting that his children, Louise and Germain, were also painters and specialised in still life. A painting by his daughter Louise hangs in the gallery.

In this same section, discover the original series of the little cooks.
Legend has it that Madame Ribot would disguise their son Germain as a little kitchen boy. Théodule would always recognise his costumed child immediately and he would be thoroughly delighted. Thus was born the desire to do a series on cooks. Théodule Ribot presented these paintings at the Salon in 1861 and they were a great success. This earned him the nickname of "painter of cooks".

« Under Ribot’s scalpel »

Théodule Ribot was fascinated by the human condition. He did not flatter his subject, did not follow his instructions, painting realistic portraits, even forcing the line here and there. He did not do many commissioned portraits; his models were usually his family, his inner circle.
Note the impressive "Portrait of my daughter", whose hair and clothes disappear into the dark background and only the face is illuminated.

« A secret garden: the landscapes »

There are not many landscapes in the oeuvre of Théodule Ribot: indeed, he focused on his personal work rather than commissions. Many of these were stored in his studio in Colombes, which burnt down during the war of 1870.

Exposition Théodule Ribot au musée des Augustins
Rémi Deligeon

« The fable »

In 1865, he decided to exhibit “The Martyrdom of St Sebastian" at the Salon. The saint appears human and his suffering is realistic. This painting was bought by the State and launched his official career.

Five years later, he painted 'The Good Samaritan', which seems to be a continuation of the first painting. The Good Samaritan is barely visible, in the distance on his mule. He has not yet seen the person he is going to save. It ought to be compared with another "Good Samaritan" painted in the same year, but with a very different composition.

This exhibition presented by the Musée des Augustins is co-hosted by the Museums of Fine-Arts of Marseille and of Caen.


The Musée des Augustins is currently closed for renovation. The complete reopening of the museum is scheduled for 2023.
During this event, only the church where the exhibition is on display will be open to the public.
Open every day from 10am to 6pm, except Tuesday.
Rates: Full rate: €6 - Concessions: €4. Free for under 18s.

Musée des Augustins

Exposition Théodule Ribot au musée des Augustins
Rémi Deligeon
Exposition Théodule Ribot au musée des Augustins
Rémi Deligeon
Exposition Théodule Ribot au musée des Augustins
Rémi Deligeon