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The sons of Clovis II



Évariste Vital Luminais


13 Oct 1821 - 15 May 1896


This demonstration of parental discipline of the Merovingian period remains shocking more than a century after its completion. It says much for the grotes-query of nineteenth-century Salon painting, of which it is so spectacular an example, that 'The sons of Clovis II' is still a collection favourite. Alarmed by her sons' rebellion against their absent father, King Clovis, their mother - the regent Sainte Bathilde - has their tendons cut before sending them, immobilised, downstream on a barge to their fate. Though Luminais foreshadows the salvation of the malefactors in the distant shape of a Benedictine monastery, he is clearly more concerned with their present gruesome predicament. His great success with this painting in the Paris Salon of 1880 was not repeated, its cadaverous sensationalism proving a hard act to follow.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.



Other Title

The sons of Clovis

Alternative title

Les enervés de Jumièges



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


190.7 x 275.8 cm stretcher; 218.8 x 335.0 x 8.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l., brown oil "E. Luminais [underlined]". Not dated.


Purchased 1886

Accession number


Artist information

Évariste Vital Luminais

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Source unknown, Paris/France, Purchased by the AGNSW in Paris 1886

Referenced in 36 publications


Tom Carment, Look, 'The art that made me', Sydney, Sep 2015, pp 14–16: p 15.

L. Enault., Paris Salon, Article written, Paris, 1890.

Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 108.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', Sydney, 1988, pp 36–56: p 41.

Peter Kingston, Look, 'The art that made me', Sydney, Aug 2016, pp 12–13: p 13.

E. Michel., Revue des Deux Mondes, Article, 1880.

The Art Journal, London, 1880, 246.

The Daily Chronicle, 02 Nov 1880.

The Illustrated London News, London, 06 Nov 1880.

Athenaeum, London, 06 Nov 1880.

The Academy, 06 Nov 1880.

The Architect, 06 Nov 1880.

L'Art et l'artistes au Salon de 1880, 1880.

The Times, 10 Nov 1880.

The Graphic, 13 Nov 1880.

Sydney daily telegraph, Sydney, 25 Nov 1880.

Saturday Review, 04 Dec 1880.

1880 Catalogue illustré du Salon, 1880, 34 (illus.). 2390, as 'Les enerves de Jumieges'

Art Criticism on Luminais's Picture, "Les Enervés de Jumièges" Exhibited at the Paris Salon, 1880; French Gallery, London 1881; Munich International Exhibition, 1883.

Le Petit Francais illustre, cover (illus.).

Catalogue of the second interchange loan collections of oil paintings and watercolour drawings: exhibited in the Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide Galleries April, 1896, Sydney, 1896. 1

National Art Gallery of New South Wales: exhibition of continental art, Sydney, 1940. 40

Bulletin, Sydney, 13 May 1972.

History and legend in some selected paintings at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1980, 12 (illus.).

Art and Australia, 'Victorian favourites: a conversation - Elwyn Lynn and Lloyd Rees', pg. 49-56, Sydney, Spring 1984, 49.

Portrait of a Gallery, 'European art in the old courts', pg. 14-23, Sydney, 1984, 19.

Salon and Académie: the charm of tradition: a catalogue of nineteenth-century European salon works, Sydney, 1984, (illus.). no catalogue numbers

The Pencil Orchids Second Anthology, New South Wales, 1995, cover (illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Sydney, 1999, col illus p 41.

Les Énervés de Jumièges, 'Le peintre et le tableau', 2007, pp 53–99: p 86, col illus p 75.

Society, 18 Dec 1880.

The Globe, 01 Nov 1880.

The Standard, 01 Nov 1880.

The Morning Post, 01 Nov 1880.

The Daily News, 02 Nov 1880.

The Morning Advertiser, 02 Nov 1880.