Jehan Georges Vibert is best known for his satirical depictions of ecclesiastical life. “The Marvelous Sauce”—a perennial favorite of museum visitors—portrays a Cardinal-turned-cook who astonishes a chef with his culinary endeavors. The Cardinal is recognizable from his distinctive scarlet regalia, but an apron partially sheaths it. Vibert often used such vibrant reds in his compositions to give them a sense of veracity. The wealth of the household and its owner, the Cardinal, is reflected in the large iron stove to the right, which is covered by a decorative hood with an aristocratic coat of arms, as well as the kitchen’s numerous brass cooking pots, abundance of food, and its elaborate, patterned floor. When considered in a broader historical context, the cheerfulness with a hint of cunning revealed in Vibert’s characters distinguishes his work as part of a growing democratization of France. This painting was created during a time when artists and writers alike sought to expose government corruption and the hypocrisies of upper-level clergy members, many of whom lived rather opulent lifestyles.


  • Title: The Marvelous Sauce
  • Creator: Jehan Georges Vibert
  • Date Created: ca. 1890
  • Physical Dimensions: support: 25 3/16 x 31 15/16 inches (63.98 x 81.12 cm); framed: 40 x 47 x 5 inches (101.6 x 119.38 x 12.7 cm)
  • Contributor: Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of Elisabeth H. Gates, 1899 (1899:3.14)
  • Rights: The copyright status of this artwork is believed to be held in public domain. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is mindful of its responsibilities concerning the intellectual property rights of others, and works to protect images of artworks that are believed to be under copyright or to have other restrictions imposed by contract or policy. While the museum makes every effort to accurately determine the rights status of artworks and images of those artworks, the information provided may not be up to date. Any statement on the public domain status of a work is made by the museum in good faith. If you have any information on the rights status of a work contrary to or in addition to the information listed here, or if you are the copyright owner and believe the AK has not properly attributed your work or has used it without your authorization, please contact the Albright-Knox Art Gallery at digitalassets@albrightknox.org.
  • External Link: More information about the artwork is available here.
  • Medium: oil on wood panel
  • Image Information: Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.
  • Artist's Nationality: French
  • Artist's Death Year: 1902
  • Artist's Birth Year: 1840

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