Home Introduction Jesus Mary Apostles Saints Spiritual Themes Genesis Moses Deuteronomic History Educating Arte Full new Screen

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

Jules-Louis Rame (1855-1927). Musée d’Art et d’Histoire – Lisieux (France). 1906.

The parable of the Good Shepherd can be found in Luke and in John. John’s parable is very poetic and the text is quite elaborated on the subject. We present an extract.

I am the good shepherd;
I know my own and my own know me,
Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
And I lay down my life for my sheep.
And there are other sheep I have
That are not of this fold, and I must lead these too.
They too will listen to my voice,
And there will be only one flock, one shepherd. G38

Jules-Louis Rame made a picture on the parable of the ‘Good Shepherd’. Rame was a very regional painter. He was born at Ouézy, near Mézidon in the Calvados part of Normandy, France, in 1855. He died in his village in 1927. Rame learnt to draw in Caen. He remained and worked all his life at Ouézy, far from the cultural exuberance of Paris. He did not avoid Paris though. He could not expose in Caen because there were no art dealers of importance there and Paris did not want his works although the dealers there recognised his talent. Rame exposed at the various yearly Salons of Paris. He rarely found people who appreciated his landscapes enough to acquire them. Yet, some amateurs of new art did discover and liked Rame’s rural pictures. One was an English Maecenas. Rame was invited by the English Lord Sir Ingram to travel to England and Scotland and he also had been to Holland F13 . Rame had few contacts with the great masters of French Impressionist painting. He stayed at Ouézy but had many friends among the regional Normandy artists. He knew and admired the landscape painters of his country: Corot, Millet, and Camille Pissarro.

Jules-Louis Rame was a farmer. He kept sheep and as everybody in the Calvados region he cultivated apples. Rame had to be a farmer to survive; he could not live of his art alone. He stayed poor, had few friends and because his art was not very appreciated he withdrew inside his village. He became somewhat of a hermit in his village of a few hundred souls. At twenty-four he married a girl from Luxemburg, Marguerite Lion, who was the teacher of the two sons of the count and countess who lived in the Ouézy castle. Rame was a religious man. He attended mass regularly and played the organ in the village church.

Jules-Louis Rame rarely worked inside. He loved nature and painted his valleys and hills in all seasons, as much as he could. His art is dedicated to nature, as almost all Impressionist art. Rame probably did not call himself of any movement, but he lived in his times and could not but see the new techniques that slowly were accepted by art lovers of Europe.

Jules-Louis Rame painted landscapes. He painted the flocks of sheep he herded. He painted his pastures, the low sloping hills of other places he could love like those of the Aude region. In winter he painted the village and views of churches. Rame first painted in sombre tones, like the Barbizon and the The Hague schools. He applied paint thickly. From 1890 on his palette grew richer, more varied in colours and his pictures glowed with light. His colours were wonderful then, as he really tended to Impressionism and their discoveries in colour.

Rame never sought the degree of abstraction of Claude Monet. Rame’s landscapes are very recognisable, clear, open and wide. Most marvellous are his landscapes with herds of sheep in which he occasionally also figured in a shepherd. Rame is the ultimate painter of bucolic sheep. His colours can be very green and very golden as he followed spring, summer or autumn. In winter he stayed in the village but not inside. He painted village scenes with the roofs of the houses covered with snow.

Jules-Louis Rame was a true farmer-painter. He really kept sheep and went with them to his high pastures. He really was a shepherd. He sowed and harvested his corn. He picked his apples and brew original Calvados cider.

Rame painted one religious pastoral scene that is very rare in Impressionist art. The picture is called ‘The Good Shepherd’ and it shows a vision of the idyllic land life that the artist led in Ouézy.

A shepherd is asleep. It is early dawn. The shepherd sits before his flock but he sleeps. Somebody else guards the flock in his place though. An eery white Jesus has replaced the shepherd and guards the animals as a Good Shepherd. The picture is all colours, as the finest Impressionist would make. The light from the growing sun on the fields is a splendid view. Rame had a marvellous eye for colour. The ‘Good Shepherd’ is one of the very rare Impressionist truly religious pictures. The figure of Christ standing high above the low landscape in all peace and beauty, glowing white, is a view that is very difficult to forget. We recognise some of the mystic dialogue Rame must have had with nature and with his sheep. Yes, this is a bucolic painting of easy emotions. But here is a painter who was truly honest so that one cannot but be moved and have respect for Rame’s image. Jules- Louis Rame was a great painter who deserves to be better known. He had an authentic feeling for nature, which would elevate him to true religious feelings when he was confronted with the quietness, peace and calm of his lone perception.

Other paintings:

Copyright: René Dewil Back to the navigation screen (if that screen has been closed) Last updated: January 2007
Book Next Previous

Copyright: René Dewil - All rights reserved. The electronic form of this document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source as 'René Dewil - The Art of Painting - Copyright'. No permission is granted for commercial use and if you would like to reproduce this work for commercial purposes in all or in part, in any form, as in selling it as a book or published compilation, then you must ask for my permission formally and separately.