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Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) - Study for a ceiling of the Louvre
Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) - Study for a ceiling of the Louvre - Paintings & Drawings Style Napoléon III Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) - Study for a ceiling of the Louvre - Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) - Study for a ceiling of the Louvre - Napoléon III
Ref : 104557
8 500 €
Period :
19th century
Artist :
Léon Cogniet (1794-1880)
Provenance :
Medium :
Oil on canvas
Dimensions :
L. 25.59 inch X l. 21.26 inch
Paintings & Drawings  - Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) - Study for a ceiling of the Louvre 19th century - Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) - Study for a ceiling of the Louvre
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Ancient portrait painting

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Léon Cogniet (1794-1880) - Study for a ceiling of the Louvre

(Paris 1794 - Paris 1880)
Study for the figure of the guard in the Louvre ceiling:
"L'Expédition d'Egypte sous les ordres de Bonaparte" (The Egyptian Expedition under the orders of Bonaparte)
Oil sketch on canvas, mid-19th century
H. 65 cm; L. 54 cm
circa 1830-1833

Related work :
- L'Expédition d'Egypte sous les ordres de Bonaparte, ceiling commissioned in 1828 for the Salle des papyrus et des manuscrits grecs on the second floor of the southern wing of the old Louvre (galerie Campana).

Our study is preparatory to the bust of the central figure of the guard in the Louvre ceiling. Commissioned under Charles X, this ceiling was the subject of hesitation and successive projects. Only completed in 1835, it was unfinished when it was presented at the Salon of 1833. Cogniet was known to be slow and meticulous in his work. Without resorting to allegory, the artist proposed a historical fiction showing Bonaparte surrounded by scientists and artists, witnessing the discovery of a sarcophagus during the Egyptian campaign - thus highlighting France's scientific role in this disastrous epic. The work is actually quite disconcerting, and stands in stark contrast to the Louvre's other décors. Bonaparte, in the shadow of a tent, is barely visible. The reception was mixed: "Paul Mantz exclaimed: "Vulgar, black characters are digging in a café au lait field: that's all! The figure of our guard is not the least surprising: Cogniet portrays him as a sleepy old grunt, leaning on his rifle. His bicorne, tilted to one side of his skull, adds a comical element to a scene that's not supposed to. A comparison with an earlier study of the ceiling proves that Léon Cogniet deliberately altered the guard's initial attitude to give him this sympathetic and somewhat laughable appearance - a transformation made all the more significant by the fact that the grognard occupies the center of his composition! The existence of our sketch, executed at almost actual size, proves that the painter did meditate on this figure. The study is painted vigorously, with a suggestive brushstroke, unencumbered by unnecessary elements: the rifle is barely indicated, and the bayonet is reduced to a silver-blue stain. There's still a touch of Géricault in this sketch, in which Léon Cogniet shows himself to be much more of a non-conformist than a man of the "middle ground".

Galerie de Frise


19th Century Oil Painting Napoléon III