Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hey, Wait a Minute...

So I ran across the painting on the left on Wednesday, it rang a bell. The painting is by one of my favorite French artists, Édouard Detaille. So is the one on the right, one of my favorite paintings by Monsieur Detaille, it depicts Colonel Louis Lepic of the French Imperial Guard, commanding the Grenadiers à Cheval at the 1807 battle of Preussisch-Eylau. Apparently the good colonel is chastising his troopers, using very colorful language, for ducking in anticipation of being possibly hit by enemy fire.

Now the painting on the left, depicts the French Carabiniers à Cheval at some unnamed battle in Russia during Napoléon's disastrous Russian Campaign of 1812.

Notice anything about the two paintings? They were both painted by the same man, in the same year, 1893. It would be interesting to know what Monsieur Detaille's thought process was in having two paintings, essentially the same in composition but depicting two different units, in two different campaigns. One wonders.

All that aside, I truly enjoy Monsieur Detaille's work. Here are more of his works -

Vive L’Empereur!
French Hussars at the Charge
Painted in 1891
Le Rêve
French soldiers of Napoléon III Dreaming of their forefathers,
the soldiers of the first Napoléon.

Painted in 1888
Another favorite artist of mine is also French, Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier - and speaking of Napoléon III...

Napoléon III at the Battle of Solferino
Painted in 1863
Another of his masterpieces is the next one, often mislabeled in books as being the Emperor Napoléon in Russia. It is not, it actually depicts an episode during the campaign in France in 1814 and shows the Emperor and his staff after the Battle of Laon. You can tell by their faces that they lost that one.

1814. Campagne de France
Painted in 1864
Finally, another of my favorite paintings, also by Meissonier -

1807, Friedland
Painted in 1875
You can almost feel the ground shaking and hear the hooves beating the earth as the soldiers shout their paean to their Emperor. Stirring stuff.

Of course the aftermath of all that "glory" is not as pretty, not at all.

Bringing Cleburne In
After the Battle of Franklin, 01 December 1864
Painting by Mort Künstler, another superb artist
and yes, another favorite.
War is Hell, though many paintings make it look glorious, it is anything but.


  1. Hey Old AFSarge;

    Yep I recognized the work, it is very popular with the stories and battles of the Napoleonic era. There is a few you didn't show, I am going by memory here, it shows the climatic battle of Waterloo with the Black Watch either attacking or defending a position and it also was very good. Yay I am first.

    1. Oh there are hundreds I didn't show MrG, though I was sore tempted...

      I recall a painting of the Black Watch being attacked by French cavalry at Quatre-Bras, part of the Waterloo campaign, which is pretty well done.

  2. The one that I always remember is of the 7th at Little Bighorn as it was a part of my childhood. On the marker on what is known as Custer Hill is the name of a distant relative. Private Richard K. Dorn was KIA on 26 June 1876 while dug in with Reno and Benteen some five miles to the south of where Custer and his force were annihilated.

    1. I've seen a number of paintings of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, some better than others, all illustrating the desperateness of the Custer fight.

  3. It almost looks as if in the first two paintings that the painter used the same sketch and just changed the uniforms.

    1. That was my thought as well, though the one on the right seems better executed.

  4. How many of these paintings hang in your manse?

    1. Sigh, I wish I could say "all of them," but The Missus Herself's taste in art is different than mine. So the answer is "none of them."

  5. Hello? Testing, can anyone hear me?

    Nice paintings, Sarge. I agree with Capt Steve’s assessment. Probably had two separate requests and needed to get them done in a hurry., but my expertise in art expired when I failed artt in kindergarten, so who knows.

    1. Juvat is alive! Read you five by five.

      On the paintings, I'm guessing "management" had a hand in that. To wit: "I don't care if they look the same, get them done, the customer is waiting!"

  6. A little known truth but well known to recruiters and propagandists, they also serve who stand and paint.

    1. A great recruiting tool indeed. Ditto to the propaganda usage.

      As to "they also serve who stand and paint" - brilliant!

  7. Here's an old-timey one I favor.

    Interesting creatures, humans. We hate the consequences but many of us thrill to the mortal contest. I can't even come close to wrapping my mind around the dichotomy there. Probably deeply rooted in the reptilian R complex deep in the root of the brain.

    Fun to think about.

    Great post with cool pitchers!

    1. A great example of Robert Taylor's artwork! (You can clearly see, if you're the imaginative sort, why one of the Phantom's nicknames was "Rhino.")

      Not real clear on why Dr. MacLean's theory has been pooh-poohed in the 2000s, of course I'm not very well read in that area.

      Thanks Shaun.

  8. There is a whole set of rules or guidelines about which way people face and what is the center of interest (vs center of painting) that supposedly sets up the tone of the painting. Facing left vs facing right, background lighting, the whole nine yards. So if the paintings may seem formulaic, well, they probably are.

    Still great paintings.

    And, really, if they are for two separate clients and never to be seen next to each other, why the heck not? Takes less time to compose, easier on the assistants who do the grunt work, and so forth.

    As to paintings, would it terribly surprise you that I despise anything where you have to guess what the subject of the painting is?

    1. No, it would not. I share you opinion on that topic, if I have to guess, it ain't art.

  9. He would have a case to sue for plagerism, except that he is the plagiarizer. Interesting comparison.

  10. He changed the horse poses.
    You'd've thought he could've moved the bodies on the ground?

  11. Detaille just did what other artists in other mediums have done. Plenty of musicians use the same chords, and sometimes their music sounds a lot alike. Disney is well known for re-purposing animation cells. It's pretty blatant in those particular paintings, but at least it's his own work, and not someone "sampling" (aka stealing) his stuff.


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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