Study for the Assumption of the Virgin, 1758

In this lively oil sketch, the Virgin Mary ascends into heaven from her tomb, carried by a swirl of angels. Jean-Baptiste Deshays made this work in preparation for a major altarpiece in 1758, on his return to Paris after a four-year stay in Rome. Deshays had recently married the eldest daughter of the important Parisian painter François Boucher (1703–70), who influenced him tremendously at the time. When Mia acquired the sketch, it was attributed to Boucher, because of similarities to three known oil sketches by him. Further research identified it as the work of Deshays. Clearly, Deshays drew inspiration from his father-in-law when working out ideas for the altarpiece. But this study also reveals his preference for bolder color combinations and less emotive figures than Boucher employed.

Study for the Assumption of the Virgin
Artist Life
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.