« PreviousContinue »
though he died when his daughter was but twelve and the guests were placed in picturesque attitudes, years old, he had already so encouraged her talent and the whole effect was such that when the later and so interested people in her as to make her comers reached the door of the supper-room they future easy. She had a few lessons from Greuze had a delightful surprise. It was as if they had and others, but she sought to study Nature for her been transported to another age and clime; a self, and to follow no school or system, and to this Greek song was chanted to the music of the lyre; she attributed her success. When but sixteen years and when honey, grapes, and other dishes were old, she was brought to public notice by two por served after the Greek manner, the enchantment traits which she painted and presented to the was complete ; a member of the company recited French Academy.
odes from a Greek poet of ancient times, and all At the age of twenty, Mademoiselle Vigée mar- passed off delightfully. ried Monsieur Le Brun, who was a careless and The fame of this novel affair spread all over unfortunate man and who spent all that his wife Paris, and its magnificence and its cost were said earned. In her memoirs, she tells us that when she to be marvelous. Some of the court ladies asked left France, thirteen years after her marriage, she Madame Le Brun to repeat it, but she refused, and had not twenty francs, though she had earned inore they were disturbed by it. The king was told than a million.
that the supper cost twenty thousand francs, but Madame Le Brun painted portraits of the most em- one of the gentlemen who had been present told inent people; and between herself and the Queen, His Majesty the truth. However, the sum was Marie Antoinette, there existed a true affection. swelled to forty thousand by the time the story Their intercourse was that of devoted friends. In reached Rome. Madame Le Brun writes, “At Vithe great state picture at Versailles, in which Ma- enna the Baroness de Strogonoff told me that I had dame Le Brun represented the Queen surrounded spent sixty thousand francs for my Greek supper; by her children, one feels the tender sentiment with that at St. Petersburg the price was at length fixed which the artist painted her sovereign and friend. at eighty thousand francs; and the truth is that Marie Antoinette used her influence to have Ma- that supper cost me about fifteen francs.” dame Le Brun elected to the Academy; Vernet Early in the year 1789, when the first mutteralso favored it, and the unusual honor was paid ings of the dreadful horrors of the Revolution her of an election before her reception-picture was were heard in France, Madame Le Brun went to finished. This was a matter of great importance Italy. She was everywhere received with honor; at that time, as only the members of the Academy and at Florence she was asked to paint her own were allowed to exhibit their works at the salons, portrait for a gallery, which is consecrated to the which are now open to all.
portraits of distinguished painters. After she Many tales were told of Madame Le Brun's reached Rome she sent the well-known picture extravagance; but her own account of an enter with the parted lips showing the pearly teeth, and tainment which she gave, and which was a subject the hand holding the pencil as if drawing. (See of endless remark, shows how little she merited frontispiece.) censure in that instance, at least. She relates that Madame Le Brun enjoyed her life in Rome so she had invited a number of friends for an evening much that she declared that if she could forget to listen to the reading of a poet. In the afternoon, France she should be the happiest of women. She while her brother read to her an account of an could not execute all the orders for portraits which ancient Grecian dinner, which even gave the rules she received, but after three years she was seized for cooking, Madame Le Brun determined upon with the unrest which comes to those who are improvising a Greek supper for her guests. She exiled from their native land, and, impelled by first instructed her cook as to the preparation of this discontent, she went to Vienna. There she the food, and then she borrowed from a dealer, remained three years; but again she longed for whom she knew, some cups, vases, and lamps, and change and went to Russia, where her reception arranged her studio with the effect which an artist was most flattering. knows how to make.
She spent six years in Russia, and into this time Among her guests were several very pretty ladies, was crowded much of honor, kindness, labor, joy, and they all wore costumes as much like the old and sorrow. Greek costumes as was possible in the short time in her Paris receptions during the later years of for preparation. Madame Le Brun wore the white her life, the most distinguished people of the city blouse in which she always painted, and added a were accustomed to assemble ; artists, men of letveil and crown of flowers. Her little daughter and ters, and men of society, here all met on common another child were dressed as pages, and carried ground, and laid aside all differences of opinion. antique vases. A canopy was hung above the table, Only good feeling and equality found a place near this gifted woman, and few people are so tinguished persons, and received an order for one sincerely mourned as was Madame Le Brun when of Charles X. ; this made his portraits so much the she died, at the age of eighty-seven.
fashion that he could not receive all who wished Her works numbered six hundred and sixty por- to sit to him. He took time, however, to paint traits, fifteen pictures, and about two hundred some battle-scenes, and in 1825 finished the last of landscapes from sketches made in her travels. four which the Duke of Orleans had ordered to be Her portraits included those of the sovereigns and placed in the Palais Royal. royal families of all Europe, as well as those of In 1828 Horace Vernet was appointed Director famous authors, artists, musicians, and learned of the French Academy in Rome. He lived genmen in church and state. She was a member of erously, and held weekly receptions which were eight academies, and her works are seen in many attended by artists, travelers, and men of distincfine collections. As an artist, we can not admire tion in Rome. These assemblies were very gay, Madame Le Brun as much as did many of her own and it seemed as if a bit of Paris had been set day, but she holds an honorable place in general down in the midst of Rome. Vernet now painted art, and a high position among women artists. a greater variety of subjects than before, but he
made no advance in serious work. He soon grew ÉMILE JEAN HORACE VERNET,
very impatient of his life in Rome, though it was
full of honor. He wished to follow the French commonly called Horace Vernet, was born in Paris army, and study new subjects for such pictures as in 1789. As a boy, Horace was the pupil of his he loved best. father, and before he was fifteen years old he sup- In 1833 he was relieved from his office and went ported himself by his own drawings.
to Algiers. There were no active military operaThe “ Taking of a Redoubt" was one of his tions, but Vernet made many sketches and painted earliest pictures of a military subject, and from some Eastern scenes. During the same year, Louis that beginning he devoted himself to the painting Philippe ordered the Palace of Versailles to be of military scenes. Horace Vernet married when converted into an historical museum. The King but twenty years old, and soon after began to keep wished Horace Vernet to paint pictures of the batan exact account of all the moneys he received or tles of Friedland, Jéna, and Wagram. There were, spent. In this record the growth of his fame is however, no wall-spaces in the palace large enough shown by the increase in the prices which were to satisfy Vernet, and for that reason two stories paid him for his pictures; they vary from twenty- were thrown together, and a great Gallery of Batfour sous, or about a quarter of a dollar, for a sketch tle-pieces made. of a tulip to fifty thousand francs (ten thousand Louis Philippe desired Vernet to introduce a dollars) for a portrait of the Empress of Russia. certain incident into one of his pictures, which
When twenty-three years old, he began to re- Vernet refused to do. He therefore left Paris for ceive orders from the King of Westphalia and St. Petersburg, where he was received with much other persons of rank. In 1814, when twenty- honor. He was, however, much missed at Verfive, he fought on the Barrière Clichy in company sailles, and when suddenly called to Paris by the with his father and other artists, and for his gal- illness of his father, he was respectfully reinstated lant conduct there he received the Cross of the at the palace. When the news of the taking of the Legion of Honor from the Emperor's own hand. city of Constantine was received, he was sent offiIn 1817 Vernet painted the “ Battle of Tolosa,” cially to Algiers to make sketches for his pictures which was the beginning of his triumphs, and he in the Salon of Constantine, which in the end besoon became the favorite of the Duke of Orleans came a vast monument to this artist. In 1839 (afterward King Louis Philippe), whose portrait Vernet went to Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, and he painted in various costumes and characters. again to Russia, where he made a long journey Vernet was not in favor with the Bourbons, how- with the Emperor. He was a great favorite with ever, and as he had made some lithographs which this sovereign, though he did not always agree were displeasing to the King, it seemed best for with His Majesty. It is possible that this independhim to leave Paris. He went to Rome with his ence of thought was really welcome to one who father and remained there for some time.
was too much feared to be often addressed with such After his return to Paris in 1822, Vernet exhib- frankness as Vernet used. While in Russia, he ited forty-five of his pictures in his own studio. painted the portrait of the Empress, and received After the exhibition of his works orders and money many valuable presents. came to him abundantly, and in the year 1824 he After his return to Paris Vernet devoted himself received nearly fifty-two thousand francs. About to portrait painting, but his old love was too strong this time Vernet painted the portraits of some dis- to be resisted, and in 1845 he joined the French
army in the Spanish valley of Aran. The troops from the life of the Emperor. After the overthrow received him with great enthusiasm ; they honored of Napoleon, David was banished to Brussels, and him as the great painter of their hardships, their his family were not allowed to bury him in France. bravery, and their victories. During all his life Vernet received the honors that were paid him with JEAN DOMINIQUE AUGUSTIN INGRES, * great modesty, and in this manifested the sterling common-sense quality of his character. Horace born at Montauban in 1781, was the most celebrated Vernet died in 1863, full of years and of honors. pupil of David. His father was a painter, sculptor,
Vernet was forced to earn his living when so and musician, and desired that his son should young that he had no opportunity for study, but excel in music. The boy played the violin, and it his quick perception and active mind, with his large is said that when thirteen years old he was apopportunities for observation, made him an accept- plauded in a theater in Toulouse. But his love able companion to men of culture and learning. of drawing proved so strong that when seventeen Horace Vernet was not a poet nor a true artist in years old he entered the studio of David. In 1801 the highest sense of the term ; his art was not he took the prize which entitled him to go to Rome, imaginative nor creative; he produced no beautiful but his poverty prevented his reaching that city pictures from deep resources in his own nature, but until 1806; he remained there fourteen years and his works have great value and interest as a true then passed four years in Florence. record of events, and he commands our respect as In 1824, Ingres opened a studio in Paris and one who made the best use of all his powers. He received pupils, and a little later he was appointed was a trifle vain, and loved to upset a box which to the Academy. His work was severely criticised, contained all his decorations, and spill them out and this so affected his spirits that in 1834 his pell-mell as if these ribands and stars, which were friends obtained his appointment as Director of the rewards of his life-work, were of no value. the French Academy in Rome. After holding Cheerfulness and industry were two of his chief this office seven years, he went again to Paris, characteristics.
and this time in triumph. He was now praised Vernet's most remarkable gift was his memory; as much as he had been blamed, and until his he has never been surpassed in this regard by any death he was loaded with honors, while enormous other painter, and it is doubtful if any other has prices were paid for his works. equaled him. He remembered things exactly as In the great Exposition of 1855, a room was he had seen them. If Vernet spoke with a sol- devoted to the pictures of Ingres, and he received dier, although he knew neither his name nor any a grand medal of honor from the jury. He had facts about the man, yet long afterward the mem- no charity for those who differed from him in opinory of the artist held a model from which he could ion. His appearance was not agreeable ; his face paint the face of that particular soldier.
has always an expression of bad temper — but exHe painted action well; he knew how to suit treme determination of character often gives a disthe folds and creases of his stuffs to the positions agreeable air to a face, and it may be this which of the men who wore them; his color was good, disfigures the face of Ingres. when we remember what colors enter into military When he first went to Rome he was very poor, subjects; for the crude brilliancy of the reds and and the utmost economy of his means was necessary yellows in gaudy uniforms are not suited to poetic in order to give him a living and leisure for the effects of color.
pursuit of his art. In 1813 he married, and his wife
stood between him and all the petty troubles of life; JACQUES-LOUIS DAVID,
she sold his works for the best possible prices, and
by assuming all his cares gave him quiet days for born in Paris in 1748, was, at the close of the last labor when he dreamed not of the trials from which century, considered the first French painter of she saved him by her patient devotion. his time. So great was his influence upon the The works of Ingres are very numerous. He painting of France, that for some years he was an painted one picture which was sold in England for absolute dictator regarding all matters connected sixty-three thousand francs. He executed some with it. He was a figure painter, and painted but portraits and a few decorative paintings. He was one landscape in his life. Many of his pictures without doubt a much greater artist than his seem to be mere groups of statues; their flesh is master David, but there has rarely been an artist as hard as marble, and there is nothing in them concerning whom the opinions of good critics differ that appeals to our sympathy or elevates our feeling. so widely. Perhaps justice would neither exalt nor
David became the friend of Napoleon, and painted debase him, but accord to him an acknowledgement the “ Passage of St. Bernard” and other scenes of all that can be attained by patience and industry through many years, without the inspiration of FERDINAND VICTOR EUGÈNE DELACROIX, great genius.
* See page 394.
A list of the honors which were showered upon who was born in 1798, was another gifted painter. Ingres would be almost as long as the catalogue While a youth, he lost a fortune, and he was of his pictures; he was a senator, a grand officer forced to struggle hard for the merest necessaries of the Legion of Honor, a member of the Institute, for existence. and of six academies, and was decorated by the However, he had steadfastness and courage, and orders of several countries outside his own. when twenty-three years old he exhibited a picture
which attracted much attention, and was purchased HIPPOLYTE DELAROCHE,
for the Luxembourg Gallery.
In 1830, he traveled in Spain, Algiers, and who is called “Paul Delaroche," was born at Morocco, and painted a few pictures of scenes in Paris in 1797. He was a very careful and skillful those countries. After his return to France, he painter, and made many preparations for his work obtained the commission to decorate the new before commencing it. At times he went so far as Throne-room in the Chamber of Deputies. He to make wax models for his groups before painting was severely criticised by other artists, but when them. He had a clear, simple conception of his his work was done it was found to be magnificent subjects, but he was not poetical nor imaginative. in effect, and from that time he was prosperous. He had an intellect which would have won success Some of his large pictures are at Versailles, others in almost any career that he might have chosen, are seen in the churches of Paris, and he also but he was not a genius.
received the important commission of the decoraThe masterpiece of Delaroche is a great paint- tion of the Library of the Chamber of Peers. In ing called the “Hemicycle" in the theater of the 1857, Delacroix was made a member of the InstiPalace of the Fine Arts in Paris, and this work is tute, having received a grand medal of honor so famous that one thinks of it involuntarily when- from the jury of the great Exposition two years ever his name is mentioned. It has seventy-five earlier. life-size figures, and the artist spent three years The subjects of some of this artist's works were in painting it; it represents the arts of different very dramatic, and he has been called “the Victor countries and times by portraits of the artists of Hugo of painting." There is no doubt that his those times and nations.
forcible imagination is his most noteworthy charAmong his historical subjects were the “Con- acteristic. Like all great artists, Delacroix loved demnation of Marie Antoinette,” “Cromwell Con- space. This is shown in his decorative works, such templating the Remains of Charles I.,” and other as the “Apollo Triumphing over Python," on the similar scenes. The interesting study which he ceiling of the Gallery of Apollo in the Louvre. It made for the “ Hemicycle," and from which he is one of his masterpieces in this kind of painting, and his scholars painted that great work, is in the and shows him to have been a genius of great Walters Gallery in Baltimore. When the works dramatic power. It was the terrible which pleased of Delaroche are sold they bring large prices; his him most, but while the impress of a master's “ Lady Jane Grey” was sold for one hundred and hand is on his pictures, we are not attracted by ten thousand francs, or twenty-two thousand dollars. them and can not love them. One writer has
Delaroche was a member of the Institute, an called Delacroix “the last of a grand family of artofficer of the Legion of Honor, and a professor in ists,” and his name is a fitting one with which to the School of Fine Arts in Paris.
close this paper.
BY SAMUEL W. DUFFIELD.
When you see the baby walk
Step by step, and stumble,
Catch him, or he 'll tumble !
When you hear the baby talk
Bit by bit, all broken,
Wonders go unspoken !