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Detailed history painting in oil depicts a battle scene with partially-clad women and children surrounded by darkened figures on horseback.

Several partially-clothed light-skinned women are illuminated in the foreground on a water bank and in the current. Loosened flowing garments reveal bare breasts. To the left, a woman extends her right arm as she looks behind; she holds an infant in her left arm and a young child reaches up. At center, three women fall backwards toward the water; one holds an infant. Mostly submerged, another woman lifts a small child above her head. Above them, horseback figures obscured by a darkened sky engage in battle with handheld spears. A stretch of illuminated clouds appears at top right.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
François Joseph Heim, French (Belfort 1787 - 1865 Paris)
Previously Théodore Chassériau, French (Ste. Barbe de Samana, S. America 1819 - 1856 Paris)
Defeat of the Cimbri and the Teutons by Marius
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Defaite des Cimbres et des Teutons par Marius
Original Language Title: Study for "Defaite des Cimbres et des Teutons par Marius" / The Defeat of Cimbres and the Teutons by Marius / Battle Between the Romans and the Gauls / The Sabine Women
Work Type
c. 1853
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
59.4 x 72.1 cm (23 3/8 x 28 3/8 in.)
framed: 78 x 90.7 x 7.6 cm (30 11/16 x 35 11/16 x 3 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Jacques Simon, Paris; [ anonymous sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, June 26 1937, no. 3] [Dr. A. C. de Frey, Paris], sold; to Louis Lion, New York, NY, (1938), sold; to [Arnold Seligmann and Trevor and Co., London] (c. 1938-1939), sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, (1939-1942) gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1942.

Hotel Drouot sale, listed as "Bataille des Romains et des Gaulois".

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Grenville L. Winthrop, Class of 1886
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art


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Publication History

  • French Art of the Nineteenth Century, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1942), p. 6
  • Chinese Sculpture, Bronzes, Jades, Paintings and Drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art; selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1943), p. 7
  • French Painting, 1774-1830: The Age of Revolution, exh. cat., Musée du Louvre / Metropolitan Museum of Art (Paris, France and New York, NY, 1975), p. 489 (p. 484 in French edition)
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 111; repr. as no. 294
  • Jean-Pierre Cuzin, "François-Joseph Heim (1787-1865), peintre d'esquisses", Bulletin de la Societe de l'Histoire de l'Art francais (1992), pp. 199-217, pp. 214, 215, repr. as fig. 33; p. 217, nos. 40-43
  • Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), no. 48, pp. 148-149, repr. in color
  • Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), no. 48, pp. 155-156, repr. in color
  • Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), p. 27

Exhibition History

  • French Art of the Nineteenth Century, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 07/01/1942 - 08/31/1942
  • Chinese sculpture, bronzes, jades, paintings and drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art : selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/01/1943 - 02/28/1944
  • Sublimations: Art and Sensuality in the 19th Century, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/13/1996 - 07/21/2002
  • A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, 03/15/2003 - 05/26/2003; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004
  • For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at