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"Period Paintings" Topic

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Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2020 3:17 a.m. PST

I know these can be problematic about certain details, but has anyone done a study of the French Imperial personalities for famous paintings?

I can pick the man, Murat, Ney, Junot, Lannes, Bessieres and usually Savary and Eugene, Davout but I clearly do not get some of the others once they're wearing chapeau.

Knowing that these period pieces were meticulously put together (how can you not with 5M of painting?), and I have the huge biography of JL David, so know the 80 odd personalities he painted in Napoleon and Josephines coronation scene.

I'm thinking of just the major ones- Marengo for reference, Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena-Auerstadt, Tilsit etc.

Just a whim for some more accuracy in paiting my personality stands. Thanks galore,

Nine pound round17 Aug 2020 3:38 a.m. PST

I suspect Edouard Detaille did one in the nineteenth century for his battle paintings. He published an illustrated history of the French Army, full of both paintings and sketches, called "L'armee Francaise" (also the title of the English translation, which was published in the early ‘90s, IIRC. Mine is in storage until this afternoon, but my recollection is that it was interesting and well done- I didn't go over it with a fine toothed comb, but the details of uniforms and equipment looked right. There is some portraiture in it, but couldn't say how much.

von Winterfeldt17 Aug 2020 3:43 a.m. PST

Detaille is not a period painter – very nice paintings however not error free.

Nine pound round17 Aug 2020 3:50 a.m. PST

I didn't say he was a period painter- I said he probably did a study of period works for his battle paintings.

MarbotsChasseurs17 Aug 2020 3:57 a.m. PST

Maybe not major, but they all played a role at Austerlitz Friedrich G. Weitsch "Napoleonic General Claude Francois Ferey", c. 1807-1808


Guillaume Raymond Amant Viviès, baron de La Prade, generale


General de Division Saint-Hilaire. Two slightly different paintings but very similar to the more common black and white side profile pic of the general



General Morand


DHautpol17 Aug 2020 6:34 a.m. PST

One detail I've noticed in paintings of this period is the fashion for combing one's hair towards one's face, from the sides as well as from the top.

Ney does it, Davout does it (although only from the sides, the top has gone) as does Soult, Gudin, Milhaud to name but a few.

I guess that it was some Europe wide fashion as Bagration appears to sport a "comb-Forward" as well.

T Corret Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2020 6:56 a.m. PST

Ivar Noel Hume wrote a wonderful book called Martin's Hundred. In it he talks about the Dutch realist painters of the Seventeenth century. Surely no one could fault their near-photorealism. He noticed that one of the best and longest lived of those painters included in all of his internal paintings, whether home, tavern, or office, the same blown glass vessel with a twist of paper in it. We have an unchanged object in over fifty years worth of paintings from this one artist! How dated does glassware from 1970 look now? In the Otto Manuscript, there are those huge curved head axes that could never fit in the sapper's holders. I have thought that the artist may have had a large ax on hand he used for a lot of the pictures, or he could render it easily from memory, or possibly regiments carried ceremonial blades for parades. As the von Winterfeldt said even the best could be in error, and even contemporary sources must be critically weighed.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2020 3:06 p.m. PST

the fashion for combing one's hair towards one's face

Hahah thanks for the laugh- I'm not sure, but perhaps the 'baldness as a sign of virility' hadn't been invented then!

I wonder more perhaps, if the extent of hair loss or trimming was related to fitting hats. I know when I need a haircut as the old caps get too tight to sit down properly.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2020 3:22 p.m. PST

I suspect Edouard Detaille did one

I have the short photo book on Detaille and wish I'd been able to see more of his work while in France.

His methods of work were meticulous, but I'm looking more specifically for the 'personalities' and 'officers/ officials' that appear in paintings we all know and love.

Rapp, Roustam are known, but where is Duroc, some Etat-Major, even Constant/ de Meneval on horse?

I have a desire to produce one or more 'command' scenes that include a myriad of the 600 helpers 'he' surrounded himself with.
For instance- apart from the well known, who are those hatted or bare-headed in rows on the Thevenin Capitulation At Ulm painting?

Theres a crop of this group somewhere else.


Thanks Michael for the additional generals.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2020 7:10 p.m. PST

I guess that it was some Europe wide fashion as Bagration appears to sport a "comb-Forward" as well.

It was part of the Neeoclassical aesthetic and used portrait busts from the late Roman Republic and early Principate as inspiration. Women's hairstyles merely similarly inspired.

It was definitely a European wide fashion (in those who had foregone the wig), and can also be seen in the better known portraits of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and some of the Prince Regent.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2020 3:17 a.m. PST

The hairstyle is still known as the César.

Allan F Mountford18 Aug 2020 4:52 a.m. PST

Not the 'titus' then?

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2020 3:45 p.m. PST

C'mon guys, give me the names~ those three rows behind 'him'… cheers

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP24 Aug 2020 3:38 p.m. PST

In the Thevenin painting, two officers immediately behind N. are unknown to me. Being they are in front of two Imperial greats, friend GDV Junot and Marshal Murat, I can only put them down as his ADC's. But who? They are both younger it appears than most contemporary generals, but then thats what he did.

The one painted with a miniature white brush of plumage in his chapeau, a somewhat trite imitation one would think of a Marshal/ Gen en Chef full plumage is intriguing. Could it be GDV Duroc- Grand Marescal du Palais- and also counted as a close friend?

Given the dated ageing of the painting, I discount the appearance of the two anocronisms a few rows back- the Dragon de la Garde and the 1810 uniformed copper Carabinier.
Thanks cup

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