L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Years of marriage, years of exile - portraits of the duc and duchesse d'Aumale

The duchesse d'Aumale, by James Sant, circa 1855.
The duc d'Aumale, by James Sant, circa 1855.

Henri Eugène Philippe Louis d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale (16 January 1822, Paris - 7 May 1897, Lo Zucco, Sicily), fifth son of King Louis-Philippe I of the French and Queen Marie Amélie. At the age of eight years old, only three weeks after his father was proclaimed king, he inherited a vast fortune, including the Château de Chantilly and other estates, from his godfather, Louis Henri de Bourbon, the last prince de Condé. At the age of seventeen he entered the army with the rank of a captain of infantry, and later distinguished himself during the French invasion of Algeria; in 1847 he became lieutenant-general and was appointed Governor-General of Algeria, a position he held until his father's abdication the following February.

Detail of above.
By Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury, 1831.
By Winterhalter, 1840.
Miniature by François Meuret, after Winterhalter, after circa 1840.

On 25 November 1844, in Naples, he married Maria Carolina Auguste di Borbone, principessa delle Due Sicilie (26 April 1822, Vienna - 6 December 1869, Twickenham), the only surviving child of Prince Leopold of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Prince of Salerno and his wife (and niece) Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria, daughter of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. The bride and groom were first cousins; her father was the brother of Queen Marie Amélie. There was a shortage of marriageable Catholic princesses at the time, and Maria Carolina - called "Lina" from birth - had had several suitors. Typically, the union wasn't a love match; the groom was unenthusiastic, but his parents forced the issue. The couple would nonetheless form a bond of mutual respect, and by her kindness and charm, she would gain the love of her adopted family.

Detail of above.
The duchesse as an infant, unknown miniaturist, circa 1822.
Watercolor by Josef Kriehuber, 1842.
By Franz Schrotzberg, 1842.
Miniature by François Meuret, circa 1845.
The miniature by Meuret has been set into a fabric and gilt metal casket.
Miniature by John Simpson, after Meuret, 1849.
Miniature by François Meuret, 1846.
Miniature of the duchesse with the prince de Condé and with the duc de Guise on her lap, by Sir William Ross, circa 1854-55.

The duchesse d'Aumale would give birth seven times, but the story of her children is a tragic one. A daughter and two sons were stillborn, another son would only live for a month, a fourth son would only live for three months. Her eldest son, Louis, prince de Condé, having been in ill-health, began a long sea voyage in 1866, at the age of twenty. At first, the journey - through Egypt, to Ceylon, and on to Australia - produced the hoped for improvement in his health but, later, his condition rapidly deteriorated, and he died in Sydney. At the news, his mother plunged into a deep depression from which she never fully recovered. After a long illness, she died of tuberculosis three years later at the age of forty-seven. Finally, three years after that, the couple's only surviving child, François, duc de Guise, died at the age of eighteen.

Detail of above.
Studio of Winterhalter, after circa 1843. Winterhalter painted many portraits of the French Royal family, of which numerous copies were made.
Studio of Winterhalter, after circa 1845.
Half-length variant of the above, studio of Winterhalter, after circa 1843.
Half-length variant of the above, studio of Winterhalter, after circa 1845.
Miniature by Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Duchesne (aka Duchesne de Gisors),
after Winterhalter, after circa 1843.
Miniature by Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Duchesne (aka Duchesne de Gisors), after Winterhalter, circa 1845.
An overdoor with a portrait of the duchesse, by Eugène Lami, circa 1846.

At the fall of his father's so-called "July Monarchy" in 1848, the duc d'Aumale and the extended Orléans family had fled to England. The deposed King and his relatives had many connections there, not least due to a previous exile; the house in Twickenham, London which Louis-Philippe rented for a few years during the Napoléonic régime had been renamed Orléans House. They also had close family ties to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The former now lent them Claremont House and, four years later, the duc and duchesse d'Aumale purchased Orléans House as their residence in exile.

Drawing of the duchesse by her brother-in-law, the prince de Joinville, 1850.
By Victor Mottez, 1853.
The duchesse and her son, Louis, prince de Condé, by Victor Mottez, 1851.
By Charles François Jalabert, 1866.
By Charles François Jalabert, 1866.

Seven months after the death of the duchesse d'Aumale, at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, her husband volunteered for service in the French army; his offer was, unsurprisingly, declined. After the fall of the Second Empire, the duc d'Aumale and his surviving son were allowed to return to France, where the duke was soon elected deputy for the Oise département. The following year he was reinstated in the army; his military career continued until 1879, at which point he was made Inspector General of the Army. Royal princes were banned from positions in the military in 1883, and he retired from public life. And in 1886, due to continuing worries about pro-monarchist elements, the government decided to expel from French territory the heads of former reigning families and declared that all members of those families should be disqualified for any public position or election to any public body. He protested, but was expelled to Belgium. Ironically, in that same year, as a widower with no living heirs, he rewrote his will leaving Chantilly and his quite remarkable collection to the French state; today, is is one of France's most important palace art museums.

By Léon Bonnat, 1880.
Studio of Bonnat, after 1880.
By Léon Bonnat, 1890.
By Henri Cain, 1893.
By Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (aka Benjamin Constant), 1896, the year before his death.

Three years after the commencement of his second exile, he was allowed to return to France, where he resumed his scholarly and benevolent pursuits. He died eight years later, at the age of seventy-five. Today, his remains rest with those of his parents, his wife, his children, among many others in the Chapelle royale de Dreux, the necropolis of the Orléans royal family.

The tombs of the duc and duchesse in the Orléans' Chapelle royale at Dreux.
The duc d'Aumale's eye, unknown miniaturist, date unknown.
The duchesse d'Aumale's eye, unknown miniaturist, date unknown.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The mirrored gaze - inspired by Rubens

Narcisse - acrylic on panel - 24x18 - 2014.
Venus at her Mirror, by Peter Paul Rubens, circa 1614-15.

I came across Rubens' wonderful self-gazing Venus again the other day; as is already obvious, this lovely painting was the inspiration for one of my own from three years ago. The history of beauty in art has largely been based on the depiction and objectification of the female face and form. I always enjoy honoring/subverting that history by taking the iconic images of sensual beauty and placing a male face and form in the woman's former pose; I think men still have plenty of catching up to do where objectification is concerned.


And because scans, for all their many virtues, often seem to flatten out modeling and texture, skew color balance, limit the range of color, here are photographs - which obviously have their own limitations - taken at the painting's completion, and which maybe give more of an idea of the actual modeling, texture, and color balance and range; if there were only some way to blend the two processes...?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The glamorous uniform - Ladies-in-waiting and Russian court dress, circa 1830s-40s

Ladies in the "Blazon Room" of the Winter Palace, by Adolphe Ladurner, 1838. (Detail of below.)
Ladies in the "Blazon Room" of the Winter Palace, by Adolphe Ladurner, 1838.
Unknown lady (Anna Alexeievna Okulova?), by Pimen Nikitich Orlov, circa 1835-37.
Henrietta Bodisco, by Johann Konrad Dorner, 1844.
Maria Petrovna Kikina, later Volkonskaia, by Pyotr Feodorovich Sokolov, 1839.
Princess Elisaveta Alexeievna Paskevich, née Griboyedova, by Nikolai Gustavovich Shilder, circa 1830s-40s.
Unknown, unknown artist, circa 1830s.
Three illustrations of court dress from 1834.
The Volkonsky children with blackamoor, by Karl Briullov, 1843.
Sofia Vassilievna Orlova-Denisova, by Pimen Nikitich Orlov, 1835.
Princess Natalia Vladimirovna Obolenskaia-Neledinskaia-Meletskaia, née Mezentsova, unknown artist, circa 1834.