Théodore Chassériau was an astonishingly precocious artist whose talent and enthusiasm earned him admission, at the age of eleven, to the prestigious studio of Ingres. In this painting, a young girl modestly hides her tears, while the glorious blond hair rippling down over her classical attire suggests her beauty. In a light that could be dawn or sunset, the sun casts a reddish glow through the knotty trunks of olive trees wreathed in ivy, the symbol of eternal fidelity. Neither a pensive Melancholy nor a veiled mourner – two types that were coming back into fashion as the century neared its end – this is, rather, a figure of Grief. Chassériau’s increasingly sensual, dazzling Romanticism would bring him great fame before he succumbed to illness at the age of only thirty-seven.