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Achille Poirot (1797-1855) att to - Entrance of Saint Francis Assisi church
Achille Poirot (1797-1855) att to - Entrance of Saint Francis Assisi church - Paintings & Drawings Style Louis-Philippe Achille Poirot (1797-1855) att to - Entrance of Saint Francis Assisi church -
Ref : 98426
Period :
19th century
Provenance :
Medium :
Oil on canvas
Dimensions :
L. 17.72 inch X l. 25.2 inch
Paintings & Drawings  - Achille Poirot (1797-1855) att to - Entrance of Saint Francis Assisi church
Galerie de Frise

Ancient portrait painting

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Achille Poirot (1797-1855) att to - Entrance of Saint Francis Assisi church

Pierre-Achille POIROT, attributed to
(1797, Alençon - 1855, Paris)
Entrance to the Lower Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi
Oil on canvas
H. 45 cm ; L. 64 cm
About 1846

Related work: painting exhibited at the 1847 Paris Salon, number 1317, titled View taken from the entrance of the underground church of Saint Francis of Assisi, kept in the Dinan museum (Brittany)

Trained as an architect, Achille Poirot was a student of Huyot and Guénépin at the Beaux-Arts de Paris from 1816 on. The exact period of his stay in Italy is not known, but sketchbooks kept at the INHA give us information on the places he visited: in July 1826 he was in Pouzolles, Naples and Pompei, in August in Rome, and visited Tuscany (Elba, Livorno, Pisa, Lucca, Volterra, Pistoia, Florence and Siena) in October of the same year. In April 1827, he was again in Florence, then explored the north of the country (Milan, Padua, Venice) in June 1827. But his base remained Rome and its surroundings, and it was in Tivoli in particular that he spent a lot of time with Camille Corot, who was to remain his friend for life, and other artists such as Jules Boilly or the Lyon painter Guindrand.

Upon his return from Italy in 1828, the Institut de France appointed him as a member of the scientific expedition (Architecture-Sculpture section) of Morée in Greece (Peloponnese), under the direction of the architect Guillaume-Abel Blouet; but before the end of 1830, he was repatriated to France, as were several of his colleagues, because of a fever that caused him to become deaf and obliged him to give up his original discipline and devote himself to painting.
In July 1830, fleeing the troubles of the Revolution, he met up again with his friend Corot in Chartres (more precisely they were settled in Nogent-le-Phaye), who had the same idea as him; the two artists then renewed their habit of working together and produced numerous views of the cathedral, the attribution of which is not always easy...

We have no biographical information on the decade of 1830, but from 1839 onwards, Poirot began to exhibit very actively (more than 50 paintings in less than fifteen years) at the Salon, specializing in representations of monuments, mainly Italian, and relying for this on the numerous sketches and surveys he had made during his stay in the 1820s. But there are also French subjects in his work: castle of Fontainebleau, views of Chartres, Amiens, Arras or Provins, Parisian churches, Hotel de Cluny ...
He received several commissions from the State, not hesitating to solicit him himself to obtain pensions and a position as curator; he also benefited from the help of Corot, who did not fail to draw the attention of the public authorities to the situation of "this unfortunate father of a family whose physical handicap has stifled the promises of a fine career.

Church interiors were one of Poirot's favorite themes, and it was the State that commissioned him to paint a view of the lower part of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, which the artist exhibited at the 1847 Salon, and which was deposited in the Dinan Museum in 1849. For this large work (1.35 x 1.70 m with the frame), it seems that Poirot made at least two versions of studies, with different points of view.
The first (45.5 x 59.5 cm) is taken from the entrance to the building, and corresponds to the composition exhibited at the Salon.

In our painting, the artist is positioned at the eastern end of the nave, at the intersection with the entrance bay, with the actual entrance door on the right. On this side we can see part of the monument housing the tomb of Giovanni dei Cerchi, an aedicule with a gothic canopy, a work of the 14th century; we can also see part of the porphyry vase offered by a queen of Cyprus.
In front of us, in the axis of the nave, slightly to the right, the pulpit called "cantoria", erected on a fourteenth century sepulchral monument by the Nepis family in 1458. The balustrade dates from the 17th century.
Still in front of us, but on the left, is the supposed sepulchral monument of John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem and Emperor of Constantinople, attributed to Ramo di Paganello around 1325, and strongly influenced by French Gothic.
Finally, not visible in our painting, to the left, the entrance bay continues with the chapels of Saint Anthony Abbot and Saint Catherine.
The figures in our painting, which are rather schematic and more like silhouettes, are characteristic of Poirot; lacking facial features, they are somewhat reminiscent, but more awkwardly, of those of his friend Corot, who would not fail to influence him. On the other hand, Poirot's quality as an architect can be seen in the lines drawn with a ruler, especially on the paving.

Among the main artists, finally quite few, who represented the underground church of Assisi, we can mention Granet, with his great painting of the Salon of 1822, acquired by Louis XVIII and preserved in the Louvre; his pupil Clérian, with The Tomb of Saint Francis of Assisi, exhibited at the Salon of 1827, and later William Wyld at the Salon of 1882. But for the architects, the place was a much more frequent subject, for surveys or even more "artistic" works; our gallery has thus sold a watercolor by Pierre-Joseph Garrez (1802-1852), executed in 1833.

Galerie de Frise


19th Century Oil Painting Louis-Philippe