Monday, June 30, 2014

General Bonaparte at the Council of 500 (1840)

François Bouchot: General Bonaparte at the Council of 500 in Saint-Cloud, November 10, 1799

This scene is part of the Coup of 18 Brumaire, which brought Napoleon to power as First Consul of France, and, in the view of most historians, ended the French Revolution.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Battle of Habra (1840)

Horace Vernet: The Battle of Habra, Algeria, 1835

Colonialism in action...

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Duke of Orleans Descending the Great Rapid (1840)

François Biard: The Duke of Orleans Descending the 
Great Rapid of Eijampaïka on Mionio River in Lappland

First of a series of paintings of Lappland done by Biard in 1840.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Portrait of a Little Girl (1840)

Gustave Courbet: Portrait of a Little Girl

Courbet made his mark in French art with his many realistic landscapes and scandalous nudes. But this, his first offering on this blog, is one of my favorite portraits. So much is of interest here - the girl's gaze which is, uncharacteristically for a portrait, looking elsewhere than at the viewer; the fact that she appears to be of the common people and not the nobility; and the color scheme, which is muted and seems designed to draw attention to the main point of interest: the girl's face.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Auguste Raffet - Lithographs

Following up on yesterday's painting by Raffet, here are a bunch of lithographs of his work.

 Combat with Bayonets (1825-29)
 Episode from the Russian Campaign (1836)
 Etat-Major, 1794 (1837)
 Greek church, Bucharest (1839)
 Halt of a Moldovan caravan transporting coal (1844)
 Musicians of the 2nd regiment, Bucharest (1837)
 Post Horses, Bessarabia, Moldavia (1839)
 Post Horses, Bessarabia, Moldavia (1840)
 Public assembly, Bucharest (1839)
 Shepherd of Banat (1838)
 The Temptation (ca. 1833)
 Three Holy Hierarchs Monastery (1840)
View of Jassy, taken from the Balcony of the Hotel in St. Petersburg, Moldavia (1840)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Charlemagne Receives the Submission of Witikind (1840)

Ary Scheffer: Charlemagne Receives the Submission 
of Witikind, King of the Saxons, at Paderborn in 785

Not much is known about Witikind, who is only remembered at all because he fought against the more famous Charlemagne (more famous because he won, I suppose).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Odalisque and Slave (1839)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: Odalisque and Slave

This is Ingres' most famous scene. It is a near replica of the painting commissioned by Charles Marcotte d'Argenteuil in 1839, currently in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge. This masterful drawing summarizes the exotic tales of Arabia that had captured the imagination of early-nineteenth-century Paris. While the artist pictured a suggestively exposed odalisque, a musician playing a tambour, and a eunuch standing guard, a fourth and possibly fifth figure are implied. A spectator sits upon the divan, perhaps alongside a sultan who has just finished smoking his hookah.

While Ingres intended the drawing to be an independent work, the painstaking technique evident in such details as the mosaics in the background or the long silky tresses of the reclining nude suggest that it may have served as a model for an engraving.

Ingres, perhaps taking advantage of the popularity of this work, did a slightly revised version in 1842 (which we will see here eventually).

Friday, June 13, 2014

An Algerian Lady Hawking (1839)

Horace Vernet: An Algerian Lady Hawking

I'm guessing that this is a pretty Eurocentric idea of what an "Algerian lady" looks like...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle Adam Taking Possession of Malta (1839)

René Théodore Berthon: Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle Adam 
Taking Possession of the Isle of Malta, 26 October 1530

The main subject, Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle Adam, was a member of the Knights Hospitaller, elected as Grand Master of the order in 1521. After the conquest of Malta, the Knights Hospitaller were known as the Maltese Knights.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Portrait of Franz Liszt (1839)

Henri Lehmann: Portrait of Franz Liszt
Lehmann was German-born but studied with Ingres and worked in France, eventually becoming a French citizen. He painted this portrait during a brief stay in Rome when he befriended Liszt and his lover Marie d'Agoult (he did her portrait a few years later - stay tuned).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Reaper with a Sickle (1838)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: The Reaper with a Sickle

The Woman with the Wild-Grown Hair
Observes "Reaper with a Sickle"
(Jean Baptiste Camille Corot)

The girl rests, blouse down over
one shoulder, her head on hand,
elbow on knee, dark skirt
covering her spread legs,
a sickle hanging
loosely in her left hand.
Behind her storm clouds gather,
two figures, arms raised
in the act of cutting grain
on a long flat stretch of bland fields.

Her face is what draws the Woman,
brown hair like her
own parted in the center,
mouth slightly open
over shiny white teeth,
sad dark eyes, a long line down
the left side of her face,
a young face but world-worn.
It is the look the Woman
remembers from her mirror
in the time of her own youth,
wide-eyed, wisdom-wearied,
wondering if things would ever be better,
wondering when the job would finally be done.

from The Woman With Wild-Grown Hair, poems by Nita Penfold, 1992

Saturday, June 7, 2014

An Invalid Submitting a Petition to Napoleon (1838)

Horace Vernet: An Invalid Submitting a Petition to Napoleon 
at a Parade in the Courtyard of the Tuileries Palace

This painting was produced in July 1838 at the request of Emperor Nicholas I who suggested the subject and asked that the composition includes the episode with the invalid presenting a petition to Napoleon. "This paining will stay in my study. I want to have the Imperial Guard always before my eyes, because it could have smashed us," said Nicholas I, giving instructions on where the new painting was to hang in the Winter Palace. In all likelihood, the canvas depicts one of the parades of 1808 or 1809. It presents famous Napoleonic generals including Duroc and Lasalle, Lannes and Murat, Ney and Brune, Bessières and Berthier, Andoche Junot and Eugène Beauharnais, Mortier and Dorsenne, Combes and Lefevre. [Hermitage]

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Silenus (1838)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: Silenus

In Greek mythology, Silenus was the companion and tutor of the god of wine, Dionysus - hence this bacchanalian scene. Silenus is usually depicted as old, plump, and drunk.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Portrait of Isaure Chassériau (1838)

Eugène Emmanuel Amaury-Duval: Portrait of Isaure Chassériau, 
Niece of the Artist, Daughter of Théodore Chassériau

While I suppose that technically there's nothing wrong with this painting, personally I don't care for it. There's a very antiseptic feel to it.

There's a page about the young lady in the portrait (in French) with the intriguing title "L'insolite destin d’une bien étrange demoiselle" ("The unusual fate of a strange lady").

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Battle of Zurich (1837)

François Bouchot: The Battle of Zurich, 25 September 1799 (central panel)

The Battle of Zurich in 1799 was a decisive victory for French Revolutionary forces over a combined Russian and Austrian army.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Polar Bear Hunt (1838)

François Biard: The Polar Bear Hunt

François Biard traveled extensively, including to the arctic, which inspired a number of his paintings, including this dramatic scene. He was also an ardent advocate for the abolition of slavery.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Madame Legois (1838)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: Madame Legois 
(also known as Young Woman with Flowers in Her Lap)