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 30, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

L'Homme en violet - portraits of the comte d'Angiviller

By Jean-Baptiste Greuze, circa 1763.

Charles-Claude Flahaut de la Billaderie, comte d'Angiviller ( Altona), director of the Bâtiments du roi under Louis XVI.  Having had a successful military career during the reign of Louis XV, rising to the rank of Field Marshal, he also later found himself in charge of the household of the dauphin’s sons. During his tenure he developed a close relationship with the young duc de Berry, the future Louis XVI who, after his accession in 1774, appointed d'Angiviller directeur général des Bâtiments, Arts, Jardins et Manufactures de France, a position perhaps best described as a kind of general and powerful minister of fine arts. As a personal friend of the king, he had great resources at his disposal - at least at the beginning of the reign, before the economic situation in France became so desperate - and throughout his career he displayed impressive energy and discernment. He was a great supporter of the Neoclassical movement, approved countless important artistic commissions, and it had been one of his most ambitious project to transform the Grand Galerie of the Louvre into Europe's most important art museum; the Revolution intervened, and the revolutionary government would assume all the credit when the Musée du Louvre opened in 1793. Two years before, though, falsely accused of squandering public funds - perhaps more damning would be his aristocratic title and his friendship with the king - he had fled France. He died in Germany at the age of seventy-nine.

Three details of the above.
Miniature by Jean-Baptiste Weyler, 1779.
 Another version of the miniature by Jean-Baptiste Weyler, set in a box by François Delanoy, 1779.
By Joseph-Siffred Duplessis, circa 1779.
The same.
A sketch for the portrait by Duplessis.
Another version of the portrait by Duplessis.

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.