Thursday, October 31, 2013

Portrait of Otto Magnus von Stackelberg and Jackob Linckh (1817)

Jean-August-Dominique Ingres:  
Portrait of Otto Magnus von Stackelberg and Jakob Linckh

Stackelberg and Linckh were both archaeologists.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Riderless Racers at Rome (1817)

Théodore Géricault: Riderless Racers at Rome

Géricault was the French Romantic painter par excellence. Like many French painters, he spent time in Italy, which profoundly affected his painting style. He was particularly influenced by Michelangelo.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Portrait of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1817)

Pierre-Paul Prud’hon: Portrait of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, prince de Bénévent, then prince de Talleyrand (1754-1838) was a French diplomat. He worked successfully from the regime of Louis XVI, through the French Revolution and then under Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe. Known since the turn of the 19th century simply by the name Talleyrand, he remains a figure that polarizes opinion. Some regard him as one of the most versatile, skilled and influential diplomats in European history, and some believe that he was a traitor, betraying in turn, the Ancien Régime, the French Revolution, Napoleon, and the Restoration. He is also notorious for leaving the Catholic Church after ordination to the priesthood and consecration to the episcopacy. [Wikipedia]

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Self-portrait in his room at the Villa Medici (1817)

Léon Cogniet: Self-portrait in his room at the Villa Medici

Cogniet (1794-1880) was born in Paris. In 1812, he entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Pierre-Narcisse Guérin at the same time as Delacroix and Géricault. In 1817 he won the Prix de Rome and was a resident at the Villa Medici from 1817 to 1822. He decorated several ceilings in the Louvre and the Halle de Godiaque in the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, and a chapel in the church of Madeleine. At first he painted in classical style, but later adopted the methods of the Romanticists. [Wikipedia]

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Louis XVIII couronne la rosière de Mittau (1817)

Jean-Charles Tardieu: Louis XVIII couronne la rosière de Mittau, 1799

Rendering the title of this lovely work into English is complicated by the fact that I can't seem to find a translation of "rosière." Basically it works out to "Louis XVIII crowns the rosière of Mittau," so rosière is either archaic or colloquial.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cupid and Psyche (1817)

Here are two depictions of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, both dating to 1817.

 François-Éduard Picot: Cupid and Psyche
Jacques-Louis David: Cupid and Psyche

It's interesting to compare these two renditions of the same theme. David's is more playful and erotic: Cupid (representing erotic love) smiles knowingly at us, while carelessly draping his arm over Psyche's breast. Picot's version is perhaps more traditionally Neoclassic. Cupid is taking leave of a sleeping Psyche while reaching for his quiver of arrows - off to spark more romantic connections, no doubt. Picot's Cupid seems to be younger (and perhaps more naive?) than David's.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Death of Masaccio (ca. 1817)

Auguste Couder: Death of Masaccio

 Masaccio was a 15th-century Italian painter. The painter, Couder, was another product of training by Jacques-Louis David.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Death of Saint Louis (ca. 1817)

Ary Scheffer: The Death of Saint Louis

Ary Scheffer was of Dutch and German extraction. His style has been described as "frigidly classical." [Murray, P. & L. (1996), Dictionary of art and artists. Penguin Books]

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Étienne Maurice Gérard (1816)

Jacques-Louis David: Étienne Maurice Gérard

The subject, Gérard, (1773-1852) was a French general and statesman. He served under a succession of French governments including the ancien regime monarchy, the Revolutionary governments, the Restorations, the July Monarchy, the First and Second Republics, and the First Empire (and arguably the Second), becoming Prime Minister briefly in 1834. [Wikipedia]

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Drawings by Ingres (1816)

In addition to the numerous paintings, Ingres's output included dozens of skilled drawings, most of which are portraits. Here are two of these.

 Madame John Mackie, née Dorothea Sophia de Champs
Portrait of Joseph Woodhead and His Wife, born Harriet Comber, 
and Her Brother, Henry George Wandesford Comber

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Oak and the Reed (1816)

Achille-Etna Michallon: The Oak and the Reed

This is an allegorical painting based on a fable by Aesop. The artist, Michallon, was the son of the sculptor Claude Michallon. He studied under Jacques-Louis David and Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes. In 1817, Michallon won the inaugural Prix de Rome for landscape painting. He traveled to Italy in 1818 and remained there for over two years. This trip had a profound influence on his work. Before he had much time to develop what he had learned however, he died at the age of 25 of pneumonia, a tragedy which cut short the life of a talented and well respected artist who could have gone on to win lasting fame. Though it is often disputed, it is thought that at one time, Corot was his pupil. [Wikipedia]

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Phaedra and Hippolytus (1802)

Pierre-Narcisse Guerin: Phaedra and Hippolytus

In Greek mythology, Phaedra is the daughter of Minos and Pasiphaë, wife of Theseus, sister of Ariadne, and the mother of Demophon of Athens and Acamas. Phaedra's name derives from the Greek word phaidros, which meant "bright".

Though married to Theseus, Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus, Theseus' son born by either Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, or Antiope, her sister. Euripides placed this story twice on the Athenian stage, of which one version survives. According to some sources, Hippolytus had spurned Aphrodite to remain a steadfast and virginal devotee of Artemis, and Aphrodite made Phaedra fall in love with him as a punishment. He rejected her.

In one version, Phaedra's nurse told Hippolytus of her love, and he swore he would not reveal her as a source of information. In revenge, Phaedra wrote Theseus a letter that claimed Hippolytus raped her. Theseus believed her and cursed Hippolytus with one of the three curses he had received from Poseidon. As a result, Hippolytus' horses were frightened by a sea monster and dragged their rider to his death.

Alternatively, after Phaedra told Theseus that Hippolytus had raped her, Theseus killed his son and Phaedra committed suicide out of guilt for she had not intended Hippolytus to die. Artemis later told Theseus the truth. In a third version, Phaedra simply told Theseus this and did not kill herself; Dionysus sent a wild bull which terrified Hippolytus' horses. [Wikipedia]

I seem to have the date wrong on this painting. It appears to date from 1802, not 1815 as my original search seemed to indicate.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apelles painting Campaspe (1815)

Jacques-Louis David: Apelles Painting Campaspe

Campaspe was a mistress of Alexander the Great; he commissioned the artist Apelles to paint her. In the process Apelles fell in love with Campaspe, and rather than having Apelles killed as one might expect, he gave Campaspe to the painter. The idea behind Alexander’s gesture is that love inspired by beauty is most appreciated by the one who discerns it best. This story was embraced by painters to demonstrate that they were the best judges of beauty.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Portrait of Edward Fox Fitzgerald (1815)

François-Xavier Fabre (attr.): Portrait of Edward Fox Fitzgerald

Edward Fox Fitzgerald was the son of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, an Irish revolutionary who was killed "resisting arrest." About the subject of this painting, not much information is readily available. Fabre's portrait is a flattering depiction that seems to show him as a very pleasant fellow.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Betrothal of Raphael and the Niece of Cardinal Bibbiena (1813-14)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: The Betrothal of Raphael 
and the Niece of Cardinal Bibbiena

Raphael was clearly Ingres's idol. Here is another episode from his life. For whatever reason, the powerful Cardinal Bibbiena wished Raphael to marry his niece. In love with another, Raphael kept putting him off. The cardinal was not pleased.

Below is Raphael's portrait of Cardinal Bibbiena, done in 1516.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Portrait of Madame Bessières (ca. 1814)

Robert Lefèvre: Portrait of Madame Bessières, Wife of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières

The lady's husband, Marshal Bessières, saw a lot of action during the Napoleonic Wars.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Grande Odalisque (1814)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: Grande Odalisque

Here is another of Ingres's great nude paintings. Commentary on this painting is here; there is a video commentary there as well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Leonidas at Thermopylae (1814)

Jacques-Louis David: Leonidas at Thermopylae

This is David's great tribute to the Spartans' stand against an overwhelming Persian army. The Battle of Thermopylae is recounted here, and also in this movie.

An analysis of the painting is elsewhere online.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Queen Caroline Murat (1814)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: Queen Caroline Murat

We've seen her before. But this portrait also has Vesuvius going off in the background, providing an interesting counterpoint to the placid interior scene.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Portsmouth Harbour with Prison Hulks (ca. 1814)

Louis Garneray: Portsmouth Harbour with Prison Hulks

In this powerful painting, the line of prison ships forms a dark diagonal across the image from the left foreground to the centre of the picture. Behind these ships, to the south-east, lies the town of Portsmouth, its skyline visible against the sky in the centre, with Gosport to the right and the entrance to the Harbour in the centre. To the right other ships, with pennants flying, are also anchored 'in ordinary' (reserve) in the Upper Harbour, including what appear to be two large Spanish prizes. In the foreground small craft have been depicted with their sails billowing in the stiff breeze... The loss of the American colonies in the 1770s as a place to send prisoners condemned to transportation created an acute shortage of prison space. There was not time to build more prisons so as a temporary measure some ships were converted into prison hulks, which could easily be made secure although the conditions aboard their often-rotting hulls were tough. It was during the French Wars of 1793 to 1815 that the greatest use of hulks was made to accommodate additional prisoners of war. They included the artist, Louis Garneray, who was captured from a French privateer and was one of a family of artists. Garneray later wrote three popular autobiographies recounting his adventurous double career as a sailor, sometime corsair, and an artist. After leaving home aged 13 to go to sea, he quickly discovered that captains wanted him to depict their brave deeds, which he did until he was captured by the English in 1806. From then until 1814 he was detained in the harbour at Portsmouth, imprisoned on various 'pontons' (prisons made from the hulks of captured and disable French ships moored in the mud) but somehow managed to paint and sell his work for a pittance. This helped improve his conditions in captivity, in the way that many other prisoners also did by making ship models or other handicrafts. When Napoleon abdicated, the British freed their prisoners and Garneray returned to Paris, continuing to work as an artist. [Royal Museums Greenwich]

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Raphael and the Fornarina (1814)

Jean-August-Dominique Ingres: Raphael and the Fornarina

"La Fornarina" was the pseudonym of a favorite model of the Renaissance painter Raphael; he is widely believed to have been in love with her, hence we have this imaginary scene by Ingres. There's a video commentary on Ingres's painting here.

Below is Raphael's famous portrait of La Fornarina - scandalous at the time.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Marie-Louise, Empress of France and Queen of Rome (1813)

François Gérard: Marie-Louise, Empress of France and Queen of Rome

This portrait of Napoleon's second wife depicts her with their firstborn son, who from birth was labeled "the King of Rome."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Napoleon Bonaparte (1812)

Robert Lefèvre: Napoleon Bonaparte

There's no getting away from this guy, is there?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Geography Lesson (1812)

Louis-Léopold Boilly: The Geography Lesson 
(Portrait of Monsieur Gaudry and His Daughter) 
Atypically for Boilly - who liked painting large, boisterous crowds of people - this is an intimate father-daughter portrait.