MERRY-JOSEPH BLONDEL (25 July 1781 – 12 June 1853) was a French
history painter of the Neoclassical school. He was a winner of the
Prix de Rome in 1803. After the salon of 1824, he was
bestowed with the rank of Knight in the order of the Legion d\'Honneur
Charles X of France
Blondel was a student of the Neoclassical master Baron Jean-Baptiste Regnault and from 1809, a lifelong friend of the painter Ingres .
For much of Blondel's painting career, he was occupied with public
commissions for paintings and frescoes in important buildings,
including palaces, museums and churches. Blondel completed major
commissions for the
Palace of Fontainebleau , the Palace of Versailles
Blondel's 1814 painting La Circassienne au Bain became infamous during the early part of the 20th century for being the subject of the largest claim for financial compensation made against the White Star line , for a single item of luggage lost by a passenger on the RMS Titanic .
* 1 Early life
* 2 Career
* 2.1 Dihl & Guerhard * 2.2 Regnault\'s studio and the Prix de Rome * 2.3 Rome and Ingres * 2.4 Further Awards * 2.5 Académie and École
* 3 Public commissions
* 5 Gallery * 6 References * 7 External links
Merry-Joseph was born on 25 July 1781 to Joseph-Armand Blondel (1740-1805), a painter and expert in stucco decoration, and his second wife Marie Marchand (died 1819). Merry-Joseph had two brothers and a sister, including Charles-Francois Armand Blondel, an architect. Several generations of the Blondel family had become associated with architecture and the design and decoration of buildings. Blondel's great uncle, Jacques-Francois Blondel (1705-1774) wrote a treatise on the subject and opened the first dedicated school of architecture in Paris.
DIHL "> Aeneas rescuing his father from Troy, oil on canvas, 1803.
In 1801, once again, Blondel convinced his father to break his
apprenticeship contract as his drawing talent secured him a place in
the studio of Baron Jean-Baptiste Regnault. Within a year, Blondel had
acquired the nickname Monsieur de Cinq-Prix (Mr Five-prizes) among his
peers at the studio, on account of the number of medals and prizes he
had won for his drawing. Another year on and Blondel's entry to the
1803 salon, a painting depicting Aeneas rescuing his father from the
burning city of Troy, won him the Grand Prix de Rome. However, due to
a change in the system and the temporary suspension of scholarships,
no students were sent to the
French Academy in Rome that year and
Blondel would have to wait until 1809 before he could take his place
Villa Medici . Hecuba and Polyxena, oil on canvas, after
ROME AND INGRES
On arrival at the
Villa Medici in Rome in 1809, Blondel struck up a
friendship with fellow student
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
After three years in Rome, Blondel returned to
ACADéMIE AND ÉCOLE
In 1824, the year of his knighthood, Blondel was awarded a professorship at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, a position which he occupied until his death in 1853. In that same year, Blondel also competed for a vacant seat at the Académie des beaux-arts but lost out to Ingres. He was eventually elected to a seat at the Académie in 1832.
The fall of Icarus, ceiling fresco, Palais du
By the mid 1820s, his many notable achievements had firmly established Blondel as a history painter of great renown and he was accordingly rewarded with many public commissions for paintings and frescoes in important buildings, including museums, palaces and churches. Most notable among these commissions were;
* at the palace of Fontainebleau - Salon and Gallery of Diana, a fresco series of 21 paintings of scenes related to the goddess Diana . * the Palace of Versailles - a series of full sized portraits depicting all the known kings and queens of France.
La France victorious at Bouvines, Palais du
Blondel was working on his fresco cycle at the church of St.Thomas Aquinas, in the 7e arronsissement when he fell ill and died in 1853.
LA CIRCASSIENNE AU BAIN
Copy After Blondel of painting lost on the RMS Titanic in 1912.
(main article La Circassienne au Bain )
Blondel's entry for the salon exhibition in November 1814 was a full sized figure painting, in oil on canvas, depicting a standing female figure, bathing in an idealised setting from classical antiquity. In typically simplistic fashion, the exhibition catalogue described the painting as painting no.108, Une Baigneuse (a bather). Critical references to the painting would later confirm Blondel's given title for the picture as La Circassienne au Bain.
LOSS ON THE RMS TITANIC
In January 1913, a claim was filed in New York against the White Star Line, by RMS Titanic survivor Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson , for financial compensation resulting from the loss of the painting. The amount of the claim was $100,000 ($2.4 million equivalent in 2014); a valuation which reflected Blondel's significant artistic status at that time and making it by far the most highly valued single item of luggage or cargo lost as a result of the sinking.
Félicité de Constance , 1808 *
Louis XIV , 1827 *
The death of Hyacinthus , (date unknown) *
Lycurgus of Sparta , 1828
* ^ M. Raoul Rochette, permanent secretary of the Académie des
Beaux-Arts, Discours prononcé aux funérailles de M. Blondel, 13 June
1853. (Record of speech in the public domain).
* ^ Guillaume, Germaine