Published: July 23, 2019

 

Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

(Self Portrait 1852)

Alexander Cabanel (fr. Alexandre Cabanel; September 28, 1823, Montpellier - January 23, 1889, Paris) - French artist, academic representative.

Cabanel was perhaps the most popular and eminent artist of the Second Empire era (1852-1870). A fashionable portrait painter, a favorite painter of Napoleon III and other European rulers, he entered the history of art as a symbol of an outdated academic tradition, skillfully adapted to the requirements of the time. Cabanel was the owner of many awards, a member of the French Academy.

Nothing accurately reflects the "psychology of the era" as popular culture. After half a century, her idols are forgotten, but another hundred years later the historian finds in their creations precious material for the reconstruction of the mindset and tastes of the time. In the 19th century, salon painting became the embodiment of popular notions of "high art", and one of the most striking manifestations of it in France was the work of Alexander Cabanel.

 

Napoléon III par Alexandre Cabanel (1865)

 

Napoléon III par Alexandre Cabanel (1865)

Cabanel was perhaps the most popular and eminent artist of the Second Empire era (1852-1870). A fashionable portrait painter, a favorite painter of Napoleon III and other European rulers, he entered the history of art as a symbol of an outdated academic tradition, skillfully adapted to the requirements of the time. Cabanel was the owner of many awards, a member of the French Academy, a professor at the School of Fine Arts, a member of the jury of all exhibitions of the official Salon. According to the caustic observation of a contemporary Cabanel, "silky skin and thin hands of his portraits were a constant source of admiration for women and irritation for artists."

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Comtesse de keller 

The reason for the loud glory of Cabanel, a rather weak draftsman and a banal colorist, should be sought in the social reality that gave rise to this kind of creativity. The type of the painting chosen by the artist could not be more consistent with the style of life and the claims of the "high society" of the Second Empire. And the very nature of the painting with its smooth colorful surface, masterly executed details and "sweet" color impressed the entire mass of spectators - regular visitors to exhibitions in the Salon. Talking about Kabanele makes, however, not only his lifetime popularity, but also the vitality of that artistic phenomenon, which he so fully expressed. An instructive example of Cabanel helps to uncover the intriguing mystery of salon art.

The biography of the artist evolved successfully and happily. Born in 1823 on the campus of Montpellier in the south of France, Cabanelle was brought up in a traditionally academic environment. Carried as a child in Paris, he entered the School of Fine Arts in the workshop of Francois Picot in 1840. In 1845, he successfully completed the course and was awarded the Grand Prize of Rome for the painting "Christ before the Judges." Together with his friend, collector and connoisseur of antiquity A. Brua, Cabanel settled in Rome, where his style finally took shape.

 

Pandora - Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

Pandora

The picture "The Death of Moses" brought by Cabanel from Rome was shown at the Salon of 1852 and brought to its author the first exhibition award in an endless chain of medals and awards. The performance of Cabanel at the Paris Salon became like a prologue, the hallmark of the artistic life of the Second Empire.

File: Alexandre Cabanel - Death of Moses.jpeg

 

In the future, the artist began to deliver to the court of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte with his brilliance and luxury, the pursuit of pleasures and complete indifference to the means of attaining them a pictorial "seasoning" in the form of illustrations of savory or dramatic episodes of history and literature. Numerous more or less naked women, called to depict Shulamith, Ruth, Cleopatra, Francesca da Rimini or Desdemona in his works, are depressed by the monotony of "burning eyes", extended, circled eyes, wicked gestures and unnaturally pink tone of mannered curved bodies.

File: Alexandre Cabanel - Cl

 

"Cleopatra tests poison on prisoners", 1887

File: Alexandre Cabanel Phaedra

 

Phèdre (Phaedra)

 

The Birth of Venus Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

In 1863, he exhibited on the Salon the painting "The Birth of Venus" - it was so successful that it was bought by Napoleon III for his personal collection.

The properties of the art of Cabanel impressed the taste of high customers. In 1855, in addition to the first medal at the World Exhibition in 1855 for the painting "The Triumph of St. Louis", Cabanel was awarded the Legion of Honor, in 1864 he was promoted to officer, and in 1878 to commander of the order. In 1863, he was elected a member of the Academy to the place that was occupied by J.-L. David, J.-J.Lebarbier and Horace Verno. In the same 1863, which entered the history of French art thanks to the famous "Salon of the Outcast", where E. Manet's Breakfast on the Grass was demonstrated, the official position of Cabanel as "the first painter of the empire" was further strengthened. Napoleon III acquired for himself two paintings by Cabane-la - "The Abduction of the Nymph" (1860, Lille, Museum of Fine Arts) and "The Nail" official Salon "The Birth of Venus" (1863, Paris, Louvre). Thus, the sluggish and anemic art of Cabanel, which melted, according to the critic, "in the aroma of violets and roses," was given the status of a standard, a sample of the dominant taste and the highest achievement of modern painting.

The Abduction of the Nymph, 1860

 

The Abduction of the Nymph, 1860

The mythological scenes of Cabanel, full of mannered bliss, deliberate grace and erotic ambiguity, recreate the aesthetic ideal of the era, its brute for a "beautiful life". The characters of the antique scenes of Cabanel resemble the most vicious and sensual nymphs of Clodion. The works of this French sculptor of the late 18th century were widely known in the second half of the 19th century due to the proliferation of a large number of copies from his works and free interpretations of modern sculptors on the themes of Klodion (A.E. Carrier-Bellez, J. B. Kleinzhe).

Creativity Cabanel was not only and not so much an individual and local artistic phenomenon, as the embodiment of a certain principle. It belonged to the type of art that was very widespread in the 19th century, designed for medium, massive taste, using tried-and-true techniques to gain popularity. Numerous idols of the century, the apostles of salon classicism A. Kabanel, V. Bougreau, J. Enner, P. Beaudry owned all the historical styles and did not develop their own.

 

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Portrait of young lady

 

Portrait of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe - Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

Portrait of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe

It was not for nothing that a contemporary wrote about one of these lawmakers of artistic fashion: "Usually everyone takes his paintings for copies from works of various artists ... Nevertheless, the artist thrives, and his very imitative ability, the very absence of anything distinctive, as it were, contributes to his success ". Quality guaranteeing the success of a pleasant mediocrity fully distinguished the work of Alexander Cabanel.

 

With the establishment of the Republic, Cabanel did not lose his fame. He was literally littered with orders, making stereotypically elegant female portraits ("Portrait of Katharina Wulf", 1876, New York, Metropolitan Museum) and images of "fatal beauties" of the past ("Phaedra", Museum of Montpellier). No less successfully he acted as a teacher, showing a certain liberality in relation to his students, among whom were J. Bastien-Lepage, B. Constan, E. Moro, F. Cormon, A. Gervex.

 

Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

Portrait of Madame Carette, born Amelia Bouvet


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Portrait of Prince KA Gorchakov

Throughout his life, the privileged artist Kabanel, who was favored by the light of the artist, remained faithful to the methods he had learned. His works are as if out of time. Their smooth enamel painting, a cleverly composed composition (a compilation of popular examples of world art), careful elaboration of details, an affecting theatrical gesture, the "monotonous prettiness" of persons do not imply any inner evolution.

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Portrait of Countess EA Vorontova-Dashkova

However, despite the conservatism of his own artistic method, "not even able to embody the banality of his designs" (F. Basile), Cabanel sometimes showed a certain breadth of judgment. So, already in 1881, for many years he had a sharply negative attitude toward E. Manet and the Impressionists, defended the work of E. Manet presented to the exhibition "Portrait Pertuis". "Gentlemen, there will be no four among us, perhaps, four who could write a head like this," these words of the respected and recognized master unwittingly acknowledge the decisive victory of the new trend in French art.

 

 

 

woman in summer Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

woman in summer

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Portrait of John William Mackay


 

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Samson and delilah

 

Ophelia Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

Ophelia

Death of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta - Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

Death of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta

File: Thamar par Cabanel.jpg

 

Thamar ou thamar et absalon

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Paige

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Cincinnatus Receiving Deputies of the Senate

 

The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Paradise, Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

"The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Paradise"

 

étude pour le paradis perdu: Adam Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

 

étude pour le paradis perdu: Adam

 

La Sulamite de Cabanel, gravée (eau-forte) par François Flameng

 

 La Sulamite de Cabanel, gravée (eau-forte) par François Flameng

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Echo Alexander Cabanel

 

Echo

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The daughter of Jephthah

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Olivia Peyton Murray Cutting

 

Circe Alexander Cabanel - portraits, myphology and salon painting

Circe

Alexandre Cabanel, Repos de Ruth ou Ruth en repos ou Ruth revenant des champs

 

Alexandre Cabanel, Repos de Ruth ou Ruth en repos ou Ruth revenant des champs

Painting with descriptions

Albayde
Albayde :: Alexandre Cabanel
The countess de Keller :: Alexandre Cabanel
The countess de Keller :: Alexandre Cabanel
Portrait Of Young Lady :: Alexandre Cabanel
Portrait Of Young Lady  :: Alexandre Cabanel
Portrait of Countess E. A. Vorontsova-Dashkova :: Alexandre Cabane
Portrait of Countess E. A. Vorontsova-Dashkova :: Alexandre Cabane
Patrician of Venice :: Alexandre Cabanel
Patrician of Venice :: Alexandre Cabanel
Nymph and Satyr :: Alexandre Cabanel
Nymph and Satyr  :: Alexandre Cabanel
The Birth of Venus :: Alexandre Cabanel
The Birth of Venus :: Alexandre Cabanel
Cincinnatus Receiving Deputies of the Senate :: Alexandre Cabanel
 Cincinnatus Receiving Deputies of the Senate :: Alexandre Cabanel
Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemned Prisoners :: Alexandre Cabanel
Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemned Prisoners :: Alexandre Cabanel
Phaedra :: Alexandre Cabanel
Phaedra :: Alexandre Cabanel
The Sulamite Engraving :: Alexandre Cabanel
The Sulamite Engraving :: Alexandre Cabanel
Paige :: Alexandre Cabanel
 Paige :: Alexandre Cabanel
Harmony :: Alexandre Cabanel
Harmony :: Alexandre Cabanel
Samson and Delilah :: Alexandre Cabanel
Samson and Delilah :: Alexandre Cabanel
Phaedra :: Alexandre Cabanel
Phaedra :: Alexandre Cabanel

 



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