On 14 May 2012, James Gurney asked readers of his blog, Gurney Journey, if anyone could tell him what became of Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ’s Les Porteurs de Mauvaises Nouvelles (“The Bearers of Bad News” — or better, “The Bad News Bearers!”), which was exhibited at the Salon of 1872. Upon seeing the image of the painting that Gurney posted, artist Craig Elliott contacted him to point out that Frazetta very clearly swiped one of the fallen figures in his painting Conan the Destroyer, and a side-by-side comparison was duly incorporated into the post. And then Rafael Kayanan noted that “a similar figure based on the second fallen male on the Lecomte can be found at the bottom left of Frazetta’s kneeling Kublai [sic] Khan plate.” It was all news to me, so…

I’ve posted both comparisons below, but please note that I haven’t borrowed any images from James Gurney’s site. If you want to view Gurney’s version of the comparison suggested by Craig Elliott, click here.

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Turns out, Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ’s Les Porteurs de Mauvaises Nouvelles, “long thought to have disappeared (and noted as such in Roger Diederen’s study on Lecomte de Nouÿ – see article in French) is in fact still held at the Tunisian Ministry of Cultural Affairs” (See Didier Rykner, “France’s Hidden Museum,” The Art Tribune, http://www.thearttribune.com/France-s-hidden-museum.html)


BONUS IMAGES:

Seeing Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ’s Les Porteurs de Mauvaises Nouvelles reminded me of two other terrific paintings on the theme of indifference in the face of death and destruction: Eugène Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanapalus (1827) and Gustave Doré’s The Enigma (1872):

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BONUS LINK:

Ragged Claws Network > Connections: Frazetta and Jones