The Funeral of Atala. Painted by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson. From the Musée du Louvre, Paris, France. Oil on canvas (1808) 207 x 267 cm
This very popular, very schmaltzy work was inspired by the very strange, very long-winded novella Atala by François-René de Chateaubriand (whom the artist also painted, though he is less beddable than the model who posed for this work). Set in the American South, the plot of Atala involves a runaway priest, savage Indians, mistaken identity, and, of course, a romantic deathbed confession. Today, we have soap operas.