Vernet, French military artists of the early 19th Century. Historical
military paintings are reproduced as fine art military prints by Cranston
Fine Arts, the military print company.
Emile Jean Horace Vernet
The artist was born in Paris, in the
galleries of the Louvre on 30th June, 1789 where his parents were lodging during
the occupation of the palace in the revolution. He attained early distinction
and quickly developed a disdain for the classical school of David. He set about
therefore to develop his own style and his taste led him to military subjects.
Taking nature as his guide, Vernet depicted the French soldier as he really was
rather than in an idealised fashion. His pictures Dog of the Regiment,
Trumpeter's Horse and Death of Poniatowski along with similar compositions gave
him universal popularity. In 1819 he began to paint large battle scenes but though he worked on an immense
scale and with the utmost speed, his figures and groupings were thoroughly
artistic. In the past, artists had represented episodes in warfare but Vernet
brought whole battlefields before his audience as in his famous Battle of Italy
and Capture of Rome. Several of his well-known paintings represented battles of
the French Revolution such as Valmy and Jemapes. One of his most famous
pictures painted in 1826 entitled the Battle of the Bridge of Arcole showed the
young Napoleon seizing a tattered flag and leading his men across the bridge on
17th November, 1796. He represented many of the victories of Napoleon including
scenes of the emperor at the Battle of Jena, Friedland, and Wagram. During the
Crimean War, he accompanied the French army and produced several important
paintings including the Battle of the Alma exhibited in 1856. His Algerian
battle pieces such as the Occupation by the French Army of the Pass of Mouzia,
and the Capture of Smalah were well received as he had drawn the soldiers and
the events from nature. Once when asked by Louis Napoleon to alter a picture of
a military review leaving out a certain general who was obnoxious to the French
emperor, Vernet refused to do it stating "I am a painter of history, sire
and I will not violate the truth." Vernet died in Paris on 17th January, 1863.
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