The Return from Calvary is a work inspired by the Bible. This small-format work is decorated with an imposing, finely crafted golden moulding.

Calvary or Golgotha is the place where the Romans tied those sentenced to death to a T-shaped cross. According to the gospels, Jesus died in this location.

In this depiction, after witnessing the torture and death of her son, Jesus’ mother is taken away surrounded by women, one of whom is lying on the ground, inconsolable. Another presents the Holy Shroud to Mary.

The Holy Shroud, also known as the Shroud of Turin, is the cloth that would have covered Jesus’ face after his death; his features remain marked on the fabric. This fabric has been the subject of many searches in an attempt to validate its authenticity.

As for the artist, Charles Huot, he was born in April 1855 in Quebec City and baptized Charles-Édouard-Masson Huot. The son of Aurélie Drolet and Charles Huot, a merchant, the young Charles became a boarder at the Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière in January 1866 and stayed there until July 1870. His mother died the following September 26. Charles entered the École normale Laval in Quebec City.

The young man became increasingly interested in painting. His talent impressed, and generous supporters ensured that he could take a study trip to Europe. At the age of 19, he left for Paris. He was accepted to the École des Beaux-Arts in March 1875.

Undoubtedly during a trip, he met Louise Schlachter, the daughter of a pastor, in Belitz, and married her in September 1885 in Germany.

Shortly thereafter, the oblates from the Saint-Sauveur parish in Quebec City thought of Huot to take care of the decoration of the church. The artist then came to spend a few months in Quebec. The oblates officially commissioned thirteen paintings from him in 1887, and the artist returned to Paris to get back to his wife. They stayed with Louise’s father to undertake this commission at his ease. The artist took six years to complete everything. Shortly after starting this important contract, a daughter was born from the marriage of Charles and Louise. In October 1889, the little family arrived in Quebec City.

Several parishes commissioned paintings from the artist. However, Huot still found time to teach drawing, among other subjects, at the École des arts et métiers de Québec.

In 1903, he returned to Europe with his family. He came back to Canada alone and stayed in Quebec for a few months, then returned to Europe. He was there in 1907 when a great misfortune struck him: his wife died on June 28 at a seaside resort. In August, he returned permanently to Canada with his daughter and set up his studio on rue Saint-Jean in Quebec City.

He received the contract to design the costumes and flags for Quebec City’s tricentennial celebrations in 1908. Two years later, he received the contract to produce a historical painting for the Parliament Building. It took him three years to complete it. In 1919, he illustrated a few pages of the Bulletin de recherches historiques with his drawings, where he presented flags.

Among his final contracts, there was the decoration of the small chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua in Lac-Bouchette, where his cousin was parish priest. It was said that the works produced to decorate this temple were the result of the “work of an illustrator from the Middle Ages.”

Then, there was a painting commissioned for the Legislative Council chamber that was nearly finished prior to his death, which only needed a few touch-ups by Antonio Masselotte (1887-1983), a student of Huot, to be completed.

Charles Huot died at the Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement in Quebec City on January 27, 1930.

Donation from a collector
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1987 1057 P