petrusplancius (petrusplancius) wrote,
petrusplancius
petrusplancius

Anne-Louis Girodet, two portraits

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Not a painter whom I generally like, but he did paint some memorable portraits. This one of Chateaubriand sums up a certain type of French romanticism; I have known it since I was a child, since the engraving of it (under the cut) was the frontispiece to a handsome edition of Chateaubriand's 'Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb' in my grandfather's library.

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Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley, 1797. He had been born in Senegal and transported to the West Indies as a slave. After the revolution, he fought with Toussaint L'Ouverture and was elected as one of the Representatives of the French colonies in the Convention, and was present when the Convention abolished slavery in all French territories in 1794. In 1797 he returned to San Domingue, and later became a victim of Napoleon's retrogressive policies in the East Indies. Like David, Girodet naturally ended up painting flattering pictures of Napoleon. Belley is shown leaning against a bust of the abbé Raynal, a French author who had opposed slavery; he is assuming a languid Byronic pose much like that of Chateaubriand, and is looking very reflective. There is an interesting thesis on this impressive portrait here:
http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/ETD/image/etd1237.pdf


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