The Lady and the Shepherd is a charming painting depicting a secrete rendezvous between an upper-class Roman girl and a handsome shepherd boy. As he gazes down upon her from his perch she offers him a section of freshly peeled orange. Behind them we can view the splendid cityscape of ancient Rome. However, there may indeed be a second story illustrated here. The Gods of Olympus often took the guise of simple shepherds to walk among the mortals. Perhaps this Roman maiden is trysting with Apollo or Mercury who was often depicted with a staff or rod such as this boy is carrying.
Heullant was born in Paris on April 23, 1834. He was a noted genre painter known for painting attractive scenes of life and manners and of mythological subjects. He entered the l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he studied with Picot and E. Giraud. He made his debut in the Salon in 1883. In that same year he became a member of the Societaire des Artistes Francais.
His works can be found in many important collections in France, including Bagneres de Bigorre, Nantes, and the Musee des Beaux-Artes in Rouen.