Born on 16 March 1771: baron Antoine-Jean
Gros, French Neoclassical
painter, who commited suicide on 26 June 1835. He studied under Jacques-Louis
David. The students of Gros included George
Gros trained with his father, a miniaturist and then with Jacques-Louis David. Although he revered David and became one of his favorite pupils, Gros had a passionate nature and he was drawn more to the color and vibrancy of Rubens and the great Venetian painters than to the Neoclassical purity of his master. In 1793 Gros went to Italy, where he met Napoléon and was appointed his official battle painter. He followed Napoléon on his campaigns, and his huge paintings such as The Battle of Eylau (1808) are among the most stirring images of the Napoléonic era. Compared to the contemporary war scenes of Goya, they are glamorous lies, but they are painted with such dramatic skill and panache that they cannot but be admired on their own terms. When David went into exile after the fall of Napoléon, Gros took over his studio, and tried to work in a more consciously Neoclassical style. He never again approached the quality of his Napoléonic pictures, however (although he painted excellent portraits), and haunted by a sense of failure he drowned himself in the Seine at Meudon. Gros is regarded as one of the leading figures in the development of Romanticism; the color and drama of his work influenced Géricault, Delacroix, and his pupil Bonington amongst others.
Napoléon Bonaparte on Arcole Bridge on 17 November 1796 (1797) _ Napoléon Bonaparte on Arcole Bridge (Gros' copy of the 1797 painting) _ Generals Bonaparte and Augereau took the bridge at Arcola, a town in Italy, on 15 November 1796 and defeated the Austrian army two days later.
Napoléon on the Battlefield of Eylau on 9 February 1807 _ detail (1808)
Napoléon in the Pesthouse at Jaffa (1804)
Madame Récamier [compare Jacques-Louis David's Madame Récamier,, François Gérard's Madame Récamier], and René Magritte's Perspective I: David's Madame Recamier (1950) and Madame Récamier sculpture (1967)]
Born on 16 March 1665: Giuseppe-Maria
Crespi lo Spagnolo, Bolognese painter who died
on 16 July 1747.
Crespi reacted against the high-Baroque academic tradition on which he was trained by Carlo Cignani and Domenico Maria Canuti, specializing in genre subjects, with violent chiaroscuro effects of brilliant color against dark backgrounds. They are in the tradition of the everyday-life paintings of the Carracci, but go far beyond them in their sense of unvarnished reality (The Hamlet). He also painted religious paintings in his naturalistic style, such as the Saint Giovanni Nepomuceno Confessing to the Queen of Bohemia (1743). He was an outstanding teacher, numbering Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and Pietro Longhi among his pupils, and he exercised a great influence on Venetian 18th century painting. He can be considered the only real genius of the late Bolognese school. Not to be confused with his relative Daniele Crespi (1595-1630), nor with Giovanni Battista Crespi il Cerano (1557 23 Oct 1632)
Self-Portrait (1700, 60x50cm) _ Formerly the painting was believed to be the self-portrait of Domenico Feti. X-ray investigations revealed a female head on the left side of the painting.
Cardinal Prospero Lambertini (1740, 80 x 58 cm) _ Prospero Lambertini (1675-1758), was pope from 1740 to 1758 as Benedict XIV. He became cardinal in 1728, and archbishop of Bologna between 1731 and 1740.
The Flea (1709, 28x24cm) _ This is one of Crespi's best-know paintings. Through the oiled paper in the window frame, a milky light falls into the humble servant's room. Clothing is scattered untidily on the floor and thrown over a roughly made bench. A few household objects and some washing on a bar hang against the bare brick wall, whose only remaining decoration consists of a few personal items. The pretty woman who lives in this room, a maid or servant girl, is sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed only in a shift. As she concentrates on her search for a flea that has probably hidden on her breast, she reveals her round knees, her plump arms and her well formed shoulder. The complete intimacy of this scene and the still-life of the utensils anticipates a theme that was to become typical of late 18th century taste: innocence glimpsed unawares. AIthough there are a number of allegorical reflections the little dog at the end of the bed, the roses in the vase next to the cosmetic jar they nevertheless do not seriously mean to identify this girl with Venus. The "keyhole perspective" also leaves it up to the spectator to choose his or her own interpretation of the scene.
Hecuba Blinding Polymnestor (173x184cm) _ Giuseppe Maria Crespi, also surnamed lo Spagnolo, was heir to various artistic traditions. Trained in his youth in the rich Bolognese heritage of the Carracci as well as the Venetian school, he later drew artistic inspiration from north of the Alps, in particular in his commissions in Florence for Prince Ferdinand of Tuscany. Crespi's oeuvre plays on several registers. He is known on the one hand for his folk-style genre scenes, the intimacy of which frequently carries over into his religious works, full of tenderness and domestic details. At the same time, when depicting religious, antique or mythological themes, he is not afraid to produce works of a much more monumental and dramatic character, at times even with a decidedly tragic slant, as is the case here.
The theme is probably taken from Hecuba, a tragedy by the antique Greek author Euripides. During the Trojan war Hecuba had sent her youngest son, together with a large fortune, to safety with Polymnestor, her son-in-law and King of Thrace. Polymnestor, however, abused Hecuba's trust in a dreadful manner, murdering and bespoiling the defenceless child he was supposed to protect. Crespi's painting depicts Hecuba's revenge for this foul deed.
To the left Polymnestor is held fast by a Trojan woman. To the right Hecuba rushes up to him and puts out her son-in-law's eyes. The painter has masterfully succeeded in converting the dramatic release of the mother's wrath on the murderer of her descendant into a powerful picture that leaves a lasting impression. The pictures rise up out of the dark background in a very mellow and nervous style of painting, a combination that had earlier proven its expressive accuracy in the late works of Titian and Caravaggio. Polymnestor, flailing helplessly in the air, has no recourse against Hecuba, who in her fluttering garments wreaks out just punishment with the elegance and precision of an angel of wrath, whilst her companion resolutely turns her head away from the dreadful judgement. By depicting Hecuba entirely from behind, in foreground, the painter also enables the viewer to identify to a certain degree with the mother as the executor of a just punishment
Born on 16 March 1667: Antoine
Rivalz, French painter who died on 07 September 1735.
[Did Rivalz have rivals?]
En 1726, Antoine Rivalz fonde une véritable école de dessin, indépendante de celle de Paris, qui deviendra en 1750 l'Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture de Toulouse, la seule en province à bénéficier du soutien royal. Jean-François Lassave, Jacques Gamelin, Jean-Baptiste Despax, Pierre Subleyras, artistes toulousains de renom, fréquentent l'Académie et prolongent l'inclination classicisante de leur maître.
Autoportrait devant l'esquisse de la chute des anges rebelles (1726, 83x64cm)
Jean-Pierre Rivalz (124x99cm) Après avoir suscité de multiples interrogations sur l'identité de l'artiste qui l'a réalisé, ce portrait a finalement été attribué par en 1956 à Antoine, qui l'a vraisemblablement peint sur une ébauche de son père. Jean-Pierre Rivalz, peintre et architecte de la ville de Toulouse, est ici représenté dans cette double fonction, à mi-corps devant une table de travail encombrée de livres et de pinceaux, consultant le traité de Vitruve, et tournant le dos à son tableau figurant l'Annonciation. Antoine, de retour d'Italie, aurait recomposé le trop paisible portrait de son père, réalisé dans sa jeunesse, sur un mode plus tumultueux et passionné : l'habit comporte des plis nombreux, la pile de livres s'écroule, la main froisse avec nervosité des pages où se reflète abondamment la lumière. Dans cette toile, toute droite est bannie, alors que les courbes sont soulignées, donnant une touche baroque à ce portrait, qui a amené à considérer pendant longtemps cette toile comme un autoportrait de Jean-Pierre Rivalz.
La Présidente de Riquet en Diane Chasseresse (123x101cm) _ L'iconographie de cette oeuvre, qui paraît décalée par rapport aux thèmes habituellement traités par Rivalz, se justifie par la personnalité de son commanditaire. Agé de 65 ans, Jean- Matthias de Riquet, l'époux du modèle, semble avoir imposé le caractère mythologique de ce portrait. Le nu héroïque sert de prétexte, à travers le genou et le sein découverts, à un érotisme tout à fait exceptionnel dans le climat social de Toulouse. Par un style vigoureux, Rivalz rompt avec l'élégante mièvrerie des portraits mythologiques qui caractérisaient le siècle précédent, et exclut notamment tout sourire de ce visage.
Enlèvement des Sabines (120x171cm) _ After a stay in Rome, Rivalz became the painter of the city of Toulouse.
_ Iam res Romana adeo erat ualida ut cuilibet finitimarum civitatum bello par esset; sed penuria mulierum hominis aetatem duratura magnitudo erat, quippe quibus nec domi spes prolis nec cum finitimis conubia essent. Tum ex consilio patrum Romulus legatos circa vicinas gentes misit qui societatem conubiumque novo populo peterent: urbes quoque, ut cetera, ex infimo nasci; dein, quas sua virtus ac di iuvent, magnas opes sibi magnumque nomen facere; satis scire, origini Romanae et deos adfuisse et non defuturam virtutem; proinde ne gravarentur homines cum hominibus sanguinem ac genus miscere. Nusquam benigne legatio audita est: adeo simul spernebant, simul tantam in medio crescentem molem sibi ac posteris suis metuebant. Ac plerisque rogitantibus dimissi ecquod feminis quoque asylum aperuissent; id enim demum compar conubium fore. Aegre id Romana pubes passa et haud dubie ad vim spectare res coepit. Cui tempus locumque aptum ut daret Romulus aegritudinem animi dissimulans ludos ex industria parat Neptuno equestri sollemnes; Consualia vocat. Indici deinde finitimis spectaculum iubet; quantoque apparatu tum sciebant aut poterant, concelebrant ut rem claram exspectatamque facerent.
Multi mortales conuenere, studio etiam videndae novae urbis, maxime proximi quique, Caeninenses, Crustumini, Antemnates; iam Sabinorum omnis multitudo cum liberis ac coniugibus venit. Inuitati hospitaliter per domos cum situm moeniaque et frequentem tectis urbem vidissent, mirantur tam breui rem Romanam crevisse. Vbi spectaculi tempus venit deditaeque eo mentes cum oculis erant, tum ex composito orta vis signoque dato iuventus Romana ad rapiendas virgines discurrit. Magna pars forte in quem quaeque inciderat raptae: quasdam forma excellentes, primoribus patrum destinatas, ex plebe homines quibus datum negotium erat domos deferebant. Vnam longe ante alias specie ac pulchritudine insignem a globo Thalassi cuiusdam raptam ferunt multisque sciscitantibus cuinam eam ferrent, identidem ne quis violaret Thalassio ferri clamitatum; inde nuptialem hanc vocem factam.
Turbato per metum ludicro maesti parentes virginum profugiunt, incusantes violati hospitii foedus deumque invocantes cuius ad sollemne ludosque per fas ac fidem decepti venissent. Nec raptis aut spes de se melior aut indignatio est minor. Sed ipse Romulus circumibat docebatque patrum id superbia factum qui conubium finitimis negassent; illas tamen in matrimonio, in societate fortunarum omnium civitatisque et quo nihil carius humano generi sit liberum fore; mollirent modo iras et, quibus fors corpora dedisset, darent animos; saepe ex iniuria postmodum gratiam ortam; eoque melioribus usuras viris quod adnisurus pro se quisque sit ut, cum suam vicem functus officio sit, parentium etiam patriaeque expleat desiderium. Accedebant blanditiae virorum, factum purgantium cupiditate atque amore, quae maxime ad muliebre ingenium efficaces preces sunt. TITI LIVI AB VRBE CONDITA LIBER I, IX (English translation at Livy's The History of Rome)