Thursday, February 27, 2014

Crusader Gallery

Richard I the Lionheart (1841) by the French Neoclassical painter Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781-1853). Blondel was a student of Jean-Baptiste Regnault and did a whole series of famous crusaders such as Richard the Lionheart, Raymond IV de Toulouse, Jean de Joinville and others for the Crusader Gallery in the National Museum in Versailles.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cannon Fodder

Sir John Falstaff Reviews His Ragged Regiment (1859) by the English artist Sir John Gilbert (1817–1897). Falstaff in front of his infamous "shadows", non-existent or disabled soldiers for whom the commanding officer receives pay. Recruiting is here a business with the only purpose to make money. In a very modern way Falstaff refers to his men: "Now, now: they’re good enough to die. Cannon fodder, cannon fodder—they’ll fill a mass grave as well as better men would."

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Heroic Hokum

The Capture of Malta in 1530 by Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Grand Master of the Order of Knights Hospitaller, (1839) by the French painter René Théodore Berthon (1776–1859). Despite of the name of the painting Malta wasn't captured but given to Knights Hospitaller in by 1530 Emperor Charles V after they lost Rhodes. So it's evidently a kind of heroic hokum.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On the Way to Execution

The State Barge of Cardinal Richelieu on the Rhone (1829) by the French history painter Hippolyte Delaroche (1797-1856). The painting shows Richelieu his barge, preceding the boat carrying Cinq-Mars and De Thou carried to their execution. It's the heyday of Richelieu's power he defeated two of his most powerful opponents, but he will die in the same year (1642) and is already marked by death.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pre CinemaScope Ben-Hur

The Chariot Race (1873) by the Hungarian painter Alexander originally Sándor von Wagner (1838- 919). Wagner was a student of the famous Karl von Piloty and became later himself a professor in history painting at the Munich Academy.
His most famous work is Chariot Race, which he painted for the Vienna Exposition (1873). The painting depicts the close of a chariot race in the Circus Maximus in Ancient Rome, presided over by Emperor Domitian. Chariot Race was completed in 1882 just two years after the publication of Ben-Hur.