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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bathing the horses

The Bathing of Horses (sketch), by Arkady Plastov, 1937.

Bathing the horses, a task performed by young fellows, bare and bareback, is the rather surprising subject of many paintings. Both in military and agricultural milieus, in seaside and lakeside settings.  Always very jolly and frolicsome, they are.  Never having ridden a horse while naked, nor ridden a horse into a large body of water, and certainly not both simultaneously, I can't attest to the likely pleasure of the experience, but I figure it's an efficient way to get a horse clean. Or they wouldn't do it that way, right?  But it must be said that, while it may or may not be so in actual practice, in painted form, anyway, the vigorous activities of healthy, naked, splash-y young horsemen are inherently quite homoerotic. Yes, they are.

Bathing the Horses, by Anatoly Treskin, 1940.
Anzacs Bathing in the Sea, by George Washington Lambert, 1914.
Bathing of a Red Horse, by Kusma Petrov-Vodkin, 1912.
Oscar Matthiesen, 1906.
Horse's Bath, by Joaquín Sorolla, 1909.  (The Spanish keep their hats on.)
Horses Bathing in the Sea, by Lucy Kemp-Welch, 1900.  (Apparently, the riders remain clothed when it's a lady painter.)
Summertime, by Rowland Wheelwright, ND.  (More British modesty.)
The Bathing of Horses, by Arkady Plastov, 1938.
Male Nude With Two Horses, by Ludwig Vacatko, ND.
Bathing a Horse, by Valentin Serov, 1905.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Father and daughter and the light from a window

At the Window, by Martin Drolling, date unknown.

The model - who is making a tracing using the light from the window - is the artist's daughter, Louise-Adéone Drolling (1797–1834), also known as Madame Joubert, who was a successful artist in her own right.  Only a few years later, she painted a very similar painting, in a very similar - the same? - setting.

Interior with Young Woman Tracing a Flower, by Louise-Adéone Drolling, by circa 1820-22.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Portrait of a Young Danish Naval Officer, by Bernard Axel Bendixen, 1841

Bernard "Benny" Axel Bendixen (10 May 1810, Copenhagen - 24 May 1877, Hamburg ), Danish painter, lithographer, and photographer.  He studied at the Art Academy in Copenhagen, but left Denmark in 1840.  After travelling in Sweden and Germany, he settled in Hamburg, where he married and became well known as a portrait painter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Carl Ernst von Stetten, by Gustave Courtois, circa 1878

Carl Ernst von Stetten (7 March 1857, Augsburg – 1942), Bavarian artist.  He went to Paris in the 1870s for training, and there met Courtois and Dagnan-Bouveret at the studio of Gérôme; it was for Courtois and Stetten the beginning of a lifelong friendship.  The young Stetten posed for several portraits and was a model for works by his friend (and probable lover).

Saint Sébastien, ND.
The Martyrdom of Saint Maurice, ND.
The Martyrdom of Saint Maurice (detail).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Four portraits by Alexander Roslin

Comtesse de Bavière-Grosberg, 1780.
Marie Emilie Cuivilliers née Boucher, 1779.
Unknown lady, 1769.
Portrait of a French lady, called Mademoiselle de Bionville, 1780.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Artists of the French Academy at the Villa Medici, 1817

L'Artiste dans sa chambre à la Villa Médicis, self-portrait by Léon Cogniet, 1817 or 18.
Louis Vincent Léon Pallière dans sa chambre à la Villa Médicis, by Jean Alaux, 1817.
L'Atelier de Picot à la Villa Médicis, by Jean Alaux, 1817.

Léon Cogniet (29 August 1794, Paris – 20 November 1880 Paris), French history and portrait painter. Winner of the Prix de Rome in 1817, he was resident at the Villa Medici from 1817 to 1822.

Jean Alaux (15 January 1786, Bordeaux – 2 March 1864, Paris), called "le Romain" ("the Roman"), French history painter and director of the French Academy in Rome from 1846-52. Son of a painter, brother to three painters, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and won the Prix de Rome in 1815. He was a pensionnaire at the French Academy in Rome from 1816 to 1820.

Louis Vincent Léon Pallière (July 1787, Bordeaux - 28 December 1820, Bordeaux), French history painter. He won the Prix de Rome in 1812, and remained in Rome for five years.

François-Edouard Picot (October 10, 1786, Paris – March 15, 1868, Paris), painter of mythological, religious and historical subjects, won the Prix de Rome in 1813 and resided in Rome until 1817. He exhibited at the Paris Salon between 1819 and 1839, and was made an officer of the Légion d'honneur in 1832.


These four artists became friends while they were pensionnaires of the French Academy at the Villa Medici in Rome, all having won the Prix de Rome.  It's interesting to compare the rooms in the first two paintings; they look to be adjacent, as they share almost exactly the same view.  The third appears to be on another side of the building, as the view - the basilica of Saint Peter's and the Castel Sant'Angelo can just be made out in the distance - and the direction of the light are different.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Count Valerian Aleksandrovich Zubov, by Jean-Louis Voille, 1791

He is wearing the Order of Saint George, Fourth Class; he received the Second Class St.George in 1796 for his capture of Derbent.

Count Valerian Aleksandrovich Zubov (1771–21 June 1804), Russian general who led the Persian Expedition of 1796. He was the brother of Platon Zubov, who was Catherine II's last favorite and the most powerful man in the empire at the time; Count Valerian, himself, was called "the handsomest man in Russia", and Catherine is reputed to have flirted with him behind his brother's back. Rising quickly in rank in the military at an astonishingly young age - no doubt at least in part due to the influence of his brother - he helped quell the Kościuszko Uprising in Poland. Not long before Catherine's death in 1796, the twenty-four year old Count Valerian led the ambitious Persian Expedition, which had been planned by him and his brother Platon. But the expedition was not successful; he managed little beyond capturing Derbent and was recalled to Russia in disgrace. His disgrace continued when Catherine's son, Paul, ascended the throne. Naturally, the new emperor had little use for either of the Zubov brothers, stripping them of their titles and confiscating their estates. (Count Valerian's estates were returned to him in 1800.) He was part of the conspiracy against the emperor, but didn't long outlive him, dying at the tender age of thirty-three.


Jean-Louis Voille (4 May 1744, Paris -1806), French painter. Student of Francois-Hubert Drouais, from the early 1770s he was resident in Russia where, circa 1780, he became court painter to the future Emperor Paul I. He returned to France in 1795 but, on the rise of Napoléon, he returned to Russia. Little is known of his last years.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Lady Londonderry and the loo

(It may come as little surprise that, by the grace of the photographer, the august lady's torso has been noticeably "whittled".)

Theresa, marchioness of Londonderry (6 June 1856 - 16 March 1919), wife of Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest-Stewart, sixth marquess of Londonderry. Born Lady Theresa Susey Helen Chetwynd Talbot, eldest daughter of Charles John, 19th Earl of Shrewsbury, she was one of the great Conservative hostesses of late Victorian and Edwardian British society.

She is pictured in her robes for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, wearing one of the great Londonderry jewels, a diamond and pearl tiara that she referred to as the "family fender". During that particularly solemn occasion, this tiara endured a great indignity when it slipped from the head of the marchioness and fell into one of the toilets at Westminster Abbey. Her predicament only became known when her protracted stay in the loo began to cause alarm, and she was forced to call for assistance. Apparently, the tiara was eventually extricated with the use of forceps.

The tiara, made by Garrard in 1854, still exists in the Londonderry family, but has been modified: Each element was set with a central pearl, but those have
been replaced by diamonds, mounted en  tremblant. And it appears that the upstanding pear-shaped pearls, which were always removable, are no longer used.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Carlo Scalzi, by Charles Joseph Flipart, circa 1737

Portrait of Carlo Scalzi in costume for the role of Sirbace in the opera "Rosbale" by Niccolò Porpora.

Carlo Scalzi (circa 1700 – after 1738), Italian castrato who performed in most of the major Italian opera houses in the period from 1718 to 1738. Nothing is known of his early life or the exact date of his birth. The first record of him is in Rome in 1718, where he performed in a series of operas by Scarlatti. A contemporary described him as a "very unique singer" and likened his voice to that of the celebrated Farinelli. He also sang in London in 1733 and 1734, where he created the role of Alceste in the world premiere of Georg Friedrich Händel's "Arianna in Creta". While Scalzi was working with the composer's company, Händel altered and extended arias from some of his previous operas for the singer. Though Händel greatly admired the singer, the English public was slightly less enthusiastic, and Scalzi returned to Italy. His last know performances were in Venice in 1738. After that, there is no record of him.


Charles Joseph Flipart (1721, Paris – 1797, Madrid), French painter and engraver. He first trained with his father, an engraver, and later traveled to Venice, where he studied painting with Giovanni Tiepolo and Jacopo Amigoni. After some time spent in Rome, in 1770 he was appointed court painter and engraver to King Ferdinand VI of Spain.

Addendum: There is some question about the date and/or the artist; if both are correct, the artist would have been about sixteen or seventeen when this was painted... hmm....

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Two interiors by Martin Drolling

Interior of a Kitchen, 1815.

Martin Drolling (1752, Oberhergheim - 1817, Paris), also known as Drolling the Elder, French painter best known for his interiors and genre scenes.  Born near Colmar in Alsace, he later moved to Paris and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts.  He gained brief fame with his "Interior of a Kitchen", painted in 1815 and exhibited at the Salon of 1817, the year of his death.  Two of his children, Michel Martin Drolling and Louise-Adéone Drolling, also known as Madame Joubert, became well-known artists.

Interior of a Dining Room, 1816.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Marlene Dietrich, The Scarlett Empress, 1934


The first four images are studio portraits by Eugene Robert Richee (21 August 1896, Denver - 25 April 1972, Orange County).  One of classic Hollywood's great portrait photographers, he is best remembered for work produced during his years at Paramount Studios, where he produced many now iconic images of legendary actors like Dietrich, Louise Brooks, and Gary Cooper.

(The remaining three images are from screen captures.)