Many 19th-century artists depicted the decline and fall of ancient Rome as a parable of moral and political decay. Such is the case with Jean-Paul Laurens’ vivid portrayal of the boy-emperor Honorius Flavius (384-423). Crowned as leader of the crumbling empire at age 11, he appears here as a helpless innocent—as overwhelmed by his throne and regalia as by the forces of history. A mere child, his feet don’t even reach the floor.



  • Title: The Late Empire: Honorius
  • Creator: Jean-Paul Laurens
  • Date: 1880/1880
  • Location Created: France
  • Provenance: Darius O. Mills, New York; Sale, Parke-Bernet, Nov. 11, 1970 (cat. no. 70); Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. to the Chrysler Museum, 1971.
  • Physical Dimensions: 60 1/2 x 42 1/2 in. (153.7 x 108 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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