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Annat, 50 fr. Bergeron, 30 fr. Blouet, 25 fr. Boyer, 20 fr. Bricon, 40 fr. Calendini, 50 fr. Coste, 30 fr. Dansac, 30 fr. Deslandres, 20 fr. Durieu de Lacarelle, 50 f. Even, 20 fr. Fournier, 50 fr. Huchet, 30 fr. Jacquin, 29 fr. Lacroix, 25 fr. Leroquais, 30 fr. Levillain, 50 fr. La France, insouciante de sa gloire, n'a pas l'air de se douter qu'elle compte Quand, je L' cole de Rome au dix-neuvi me si.

This book is a reproduction of This book is a reproduction of the original book published in and may have some imperfections such as marks or hand-written notes. La Mort de Phidias. On ne trouve pas en ce pays, comme en Espagne, ces vastes centres d'attraction On ne trouve pas en ce pays, comme en Espagne, ces vastes centres d'attraction provinciale, ces villes l'emportant toutes sur la capitale par la puissance des souvenirs et rivalisant avec elle d'influences et de richesses. In his third history painting fig. Although the picture was sent back to France by early , Bonnat was dissatisfied with its tonality, and probably worked on it further that year.


The critics mostly passed quickly over this huge canvas to heap praise upon his genre painting of an Italian girl, [74] but the state purchased it and awarded Bonnat another second-class medal. The artist had offered the Saint Andrew to Bayonne, and the state honored his promise. In an letter from Rome, he articulated his opinion of the pensionnaires.

They think that having won a scholarship is enough to make them great painters. Meanwhile they should have seen that they had to work to get the award and they should know that nothing is obtained easily. Generally, they act too much like lords, taking it far too easy. Fortunately, there are exceptions. Baudry worked like a madman. At the academy, one remains a schoolboy too long.

But few pensionnaire were rewarded for trying to make something more of their envois , as Anne Wagner has demonstrated through the example of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux — That student was the painter Pierre-Louis-Joseph de Coninck — and the details of this episode must have come from Bonnat, who befriended de Coninck.

Thus, the student was compensated for his diligence, but assigned an inferior status.

First, the painter and critic may have already met. Only an artist who had studied in the system could supply these, but that artist had to be capable of a critical perspective. That Bonnat willingly courted this danger might signal a genuine desire to help improve French artistic training, or guilt at exposing the internal dynamics of an artistic system in which he had participated and still desired to triumph.

Since the late 18th century, French artists were increasingly aware of the crucial role that art criticism could play in their careers, and many cultivated or built friendships with supportive writers. If all the ardor, all the passion is not extinguished in the hearts of the younger generations, if it is right that the art of a great era and of a great people should no longer struggle under the efforts of academic routine, we are confident that in the near future the self-interested opponents of the excellent measure that has been taken will be overcome.

The Decree of November 13, in maintaining and broadening the teaching of tradition, without excluding the free demonstration of individual genius, has, by this alone, restored the courage, the trust, and the hope in all the young and elevated souls who from this moment forward feel inviolably protected. Ah, poor young fellows, pulled on one side by the authority of a great name toward the errant ways and errors of David, and on the other in the name of the discontented toward the negation of all painting, of all art, toward Mr.

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Go, dear young fellows, get close to Mr. Ingres, learn from him the prestigious art of linear beauty; go to Delacroix, Veronese, Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, learn from these masters and life and movement, color and style. But above all, never desert your own school. Reflect, work, look at the masters and even more at nature; become painters by the technical skills of your art, and men by deep thought, and keep yourselves equally far from all factions.

With this sacrifice, be convinced, you will make, you also, great works of art, and you will illustrate a new era in French art that will have commenced with the decree of November Moreover, celebrating only Ingres and Delacroix could have caused bad blood among the other academicians who were tacitly demoted to second-rate status. The administration promoted the new ateliers and limited competitions as offering greater freedom to students to explore and experiment, while the non-studio courses provided a broader knowledge base on which they could draw to vie for and satisfy various artistic commissions.

The letter that Bonnat signed specifically describes the reforms as granting students more freedom in their studies.

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It was taught by the reformer Viollet-le-Duc, who abandoned the traditional content of artistic biography, anecdotes about beauty, and concentration on the classical and Renaissance eras. Instead, he extolled the rationality and utility of various styles and periods—but especially medieval architecture—, the study of nature, and practice-based solutions. The students accused Viollet of forcing an untested historical narrative and aesthetic preferences on them. Bonnat as Challenger The question to pose now is, what led Bonnat to embrace the reforms and stand apart from his peers?

For in many ways, Bonnat was a conventional and ambitious student, respectful of traditions and institutions in his objective for an official career in painting large religious works for the state and church.

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After bankruptcy in Bayonne, his father moved the family to Spain to start anew, and a fourteen-year-old Bonnat joined them in Madrid, where he became one of the few French artists to study in the Spanish academic system. While the Madrid art academy followed practices similar to the Parisian one, the young Frenchman had to learn in a foreign language and culture, without close friends or examples to follow. His aesthetic models were the Spanish Old Masters, who were not embraced within French academic training.

He progressed sufficiently to land a government commission at the tender age of 19, [99] but his studies were interrupted in when his father died. His training in Paris was only possible due to a stipend provided by his hometown of Bayonne. He duly competed for the Rome prize, first in , [] and made it to the final round in For Bonnat, the ideas behind the reforms confirmed his path and the benefits of training abroad and independently in Rome.

He read widely, from historical and religious texts to contemporary poetry and newspapers, and he was curious about new philosophies and political matters. If Bonnat set his sights on triumphing at the official Salon, he also showed in alternate venues when it suited him. In , Bonnat had a very good Salon. Not only did he earn a Salon medal, he sold all three paintings. But despite his post-Rome success, he did not feel supported within the Parisian art world.

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I see my wings clipped by this lack of resources and security. The director of fine arts at City Hall. The next day the city commission met and voted to give me an order worth francs; I was told of the matter by members of the committee. Not receiving any official word. Except for these few enemies, who, unfortunately, have great importance in my life, I only half-heartedly regret what happened. From the elation of learning that the state purchased his Saint Andrew and that the city voted him a splendid commission for a religious painting, [] his bubble was rudely burst when he did not obtain the gold medal and the arts administrator probably Courmont treated him coldly.

His mentor in Bayonne, the artist-publisher Romain Julien, interpreted the official patronage lavished on Bonnat as compensation for the elusive first-class medal. In criticizing academic training, he seemed to call into question those artistic talents that were certified by its awards, but he also exposed himself to charges of sour grapes. His criticism derived from his experiences, but he avoided supplying personal tribulations to Chesneau as evidence of the failures of the academic system.

In , he was appointed to the jury of the Prix de Rome for the first two stages of competition. Some of its faculty, still angry over the changes imposed by the reforms, refused to teach, and Robert-Fleury likely hired or recommended his mentee. It was not long before Bonnat realized the difficulty of being an effective teacher, a realization that caused him to reflect on his own artistic development. I come to see that it is nearly to chance that I owe my progress. A miserable engraving! In Rome a bad photograph representing a steer lying down made me understand what a picture is, what makes it so that an object is powerfully modeled to the detriment of nearby objects that are sacrificed!

When I was going to Mr. Go give lessons and guide people after similar examples. Well, I do my best.

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He admitted having had little practical or theoretical instruction, for the elderly and frail Cogniet rarely came to the atelier. But rather than condemn this absence, Bonnat presented it as a virtue. I was very surprised by this type of negligence, of this abandonment that left us in doubt, indecision, and nearly absolute ignorance on the path to take. He thought that mutual learning is the most efficient teaching, and finally and above all, he did not want to impose on his students his way of seeing, of understanding, and of interpreting life.

Bonnat now seemed in full agreement with the anti-reform students who reviled Viollet: a master must not impose his particular aesthetic on students. Bonnat adopted an antagonistic posture in his Adam and Eve , his dark, Spanish manner, the reforms debate, and his private atelier, but he was ultimately reconciled with the academic system.

I will tell you that I am completely reassured about the interpretation that they could give to my position. I held off in my plans [to approach Chesneau] from scruples. On one hand, I did not want to help destroy the school in Rome, several [of its] scholarship students being friends of mine, and above all I did not want to make of this, or give the impression of making it a personal issue. Having returned home, I wrote to him; I had forgotten loads of things.

I wrote him a second letter the following day urging him to explain to the young fellows what the problem was and in what way we had to find a remedy for it. I urged Chesneau to put aside his satirical tone and to try to stir up our generation.

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  • They confirmed for me this idea that talent is inseparable from a certain fervor in soul and mind. This war of personalities must end.

    I am slightly unwell, forgive me for not responding at length to your excellent letters. I tell you again, they touched me very much. And on Thursday when you pass by my house, please remember that I will always enjoy chatting with you.