Collection Online
Marguerite and Faust in the garden

Marguerite and Faust in the garden

oil on canvas
216.5 × 135.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
inscribed in brown paint l.r.: Ary Scheffer. 1846
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased in memory of Dorothy Hicks with funds donated by Ian Hicks AM and family, 2007
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
Not on display

Exhibited Salon, Paris, 1846, no. 1602; purchased by Susse fréres (dealer), Paris 1846; collection of Eugene, Freiherr von Lotzbeck, Munich; thence by descent, recorded in collection inventory, 1927, no. 16; private collection, England, by 1990; private collection, New York; with Matthiesen Gallery, London; collection of John Schaeffer, before 2007; from whom purchased for the NGV, 2007.

Scheffer’s work has been criticised as being overly sentimental, but his emotionally charged images struck a chord with the public, and he was one of the most popular artists of his day. Scheffer was inspired by the clarity of composition, and the direct approach to narrative, of Italian painting from before 1500. He frequently drew inspiration from great works of literature, such as, in this painting, Goethe’s Faust. Here Faust is seen courting Marguerite, watched by her neighbour Martha and Mephistopheles. The mocking expression on the face of Mephistopheles points to the tragic consequences that will result from this courtship.


Frames with this classical form can be seen on paintings in Scheffer’s house and studio, more often with a fluted scotia. Here the frame in is the reduced form of a plain scotia with a carved egg and dart pattern to the leading edge and a small scale shield and dart at the sight edge.

Unknown - 19th century

carved timber and gold leaf

242.5 x 161.5 x 14.5 cm