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Charles Ricketts based this painting on a scene from the 1859 opera 'Faust' by Charles François Gounod. 'Faust' sits in his study surrounded by symbols of learning including books, a globe and an astronomical chart. He is weary of life and in despair he calls on the devil (Mephistopheles), who appears and offers him youth and fortune in return for his soul. This cautionary tale has been popular ever since Christopher Marlowe's play on the theme, written in the 1590s.
oil on canvas
H 117 x W 90.5 cm
gift from Mr and Mrs A. E. Nicholls, 1962