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Died on 20 March 1746: Nicolas
de Largillière, French painter born on 10 October 1656.
Nicolas de Largillière was born in Paris but passed his youth in Antwerp and, from about 1674, spent some years in England as Lely's assistant. He was thus almost a Flemish painter when he returned to Paris in 1682. He became a member of the Academy in 1686 and ultimately its Director. His principal rival was Rigaud, but Largillière specialized in portraits of the wealthy middle classes, leaving the aristocrats to Rigaud. . The Sainte Geneviève is the only survivor of the large ex-voto type of picture that he painted for the Corporations. He also painted a few pictures of still-life.
Born on 20 March 1811: Prosper
Georges Antoine Marilhat, French painter specialized in
portraits and orientalism, who died on 13 September 1847.
Before moving to Paris and becoming a pupil of Roqueplan c.1829 he had already painted his earliest landscapes in his native region and the Auvergne. In 1831-3 he visited the Middle East, at first accompaning the naturalist Baron Karl von Hügel. He brought back many studies and established a considerable reputation for himself as an Orientalist painter as well as a portraitist. In his last years he became insane and he died in an asylum.
Au bord du Nil (31x45cm) Palm Trees The Erechtheum, Athens Beni Suef on the Nile
Died on 20 March 1865: Constant
Troyon, French artist born on 28 August 1810.
The son of an employee at the Sèvres porcelain factory, he received lessons from the flower painter Denis-Désiré Riocreux (1791-1872) and the landscapist Antoine-Achille Poupart (born 1788), both fellow employees of the factory. Through Roqueplan he met Diaz, Jules Dupré and Rousseau who were later to become, like Troyon, members of the Barbizon school of landscape painters. He first painted in the forest of Fontainebleau in the 1840s, but he also visited other parts of France including Brittany, the Dauphiné and Normandy. He greatly admired seventeenth-century Dutch painting and visited Holland in 1847. Partly influenced by the paintings of Cuyp and Potter, he turned in his later career principally to animal subjects which won him considerable financial success. [C'est Troyon, pas Trouillon.]
Landscape with Oxen (1855)
Born on 20 March 1836: Sir Edward
John James Poynter, English Classicist
painter who died on 26 July 1919, brother-in-law of Edward
Burne-Jones and Georgina
Macdonald. [Did he give them a few pointers by giving them a few Poynters?]
For much of his artistic life, Sir Edward Poynter, the neo-classical painter, lived under the shadow of Lord Leighton, and as a result his work was unjustly neglected. Furthermore, his talents never quite matched those of Leighton and Alma-Tadema, even though at times he could be a superb artist, as with his Cave of the Storm Nymphs, which is one of his finest academic paintings. It was bought in 1891 for £203'500, one of the most expensive Victorian pictures ever sold at that time.
Unlike Leighton, whose flamboyant lifestyle matched his outgoing personality, Poynter was a reserved, cantankerous man who was unable to change with the times, with the result that his work was dismissed as prententious and uninteresting. When Leighton died, Poynter took over the role of President of the Royal Academy, where he remained for over twenty-two years, until many people began to wonder if he would ever retire. He resigned finally when he was over 80, but only because he was almost blind.
Edward Poynter was born in Paris, the son of an architect, and after being educated at Westminster and Ipswich Grammar School, he went to Rome, where he met Leighton. Having decided to take up art as a career, as a direct result of meeting Leighton, he studied in Paris under Charles Gleyre, who had been a penniless artist before he opened an atelier, when he rapidly became a famous teacher.
In 1859 Poynter returned to London, and for the next few years struggled to make a living from his painting with indifferent results. He desperately needed the RA to take one of his pictures in order to establish his name. Eventually Faithful Until Death was accepted by the RA in 1865. This picture, which shows a Roman soldier doggedly remaining at his post during the destruction of Pompeii, was a great success, and still remains Poynter's most famous work. This was followed by The Catapult and Atlanta's Race. [nothing to do with African-Americans in Georgia]. Among his famous paintings are The Fortune Teller and The Meeting between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
Although by 1894 his powers were beginning to decline, he was still made the Director of the National Gallery and an RA in 1896. By 1900, however, his paintings began to be repetitious and uninteresting. When the end finally came there were some deeply felt sighs of relief from a large number of people who felt that he had already long overstayed his welcome.
Early in his career Poynter studied in Rome, where he met Frederic Leighton, his greatest single artistic influence. He then moved to Paris in 1855. On returning to London, he became involved on book illustration. In 1865 he produced his first really successful picture, Faithful Unto Death, a Roman sentry staying at his post in Pompeii as Vesuvius overwhelmed the city. This dramatic painting was probably never bettered by Poynter throughout his whole long career. Poynter became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1869, at an unusually early age. Much of the rest of his life was devoted to the Academy, he was hardworking, conscientious, and a competent administrator.
Poynter married Agnes MacDonald, the sister of Burne-Jones' wife Georgiana. Burne-Jones disliked Poynter, who was an unsympathetic, brusque character. When Leighton died in 1896, he was succeeded as President of the Royal Academy by Millais, who was suffering from cancer of the throat. On the death of Millais a few months later, Poynter succeeded him, narrowly defeating Briton Riviere in the vote. He was PRA for the next two decades.
From the turn of the century Poynter's paintings declined both in numbers and quality, his main priority being the running of the Academy. He lived to see the death of classicism, & the total eclipse of his own artistic standards, & those of his contemporaries. He adopted the approach of ignoring new developments of which he did not approve. Unhappily Poynter outstayed his welcome. One of the last duties of the eighty one year old PRA, was to attend the funeral of J. W. Waterhouse. There was, though, something splendid about the way he remained consistent to the last, resisting what he saw as the corruption, and denigration of all that was beautiful in art. He may even have been right.
The Cave of the Storm Nymphs (1903, 145x109cm) Israel in Egypt (1867) — On the Temple Steps The Catapult (1868, 155x184cm) Cressida (1888, 123x133cm) A Roman Boat Race (1889) The Fortune Teller (1877, 62x75cm) — Adoration to Ra (1867) — Reading (1871) — A Visit to Aesculapius (1883, 151x229cm) — Lesbia and her Sparrow
— A Corner of the Villa _ This painting provides us with a sense of space as we observe a private moment shared in an atrium among two women and a child. The artist's willingness to attempt a scene so full of different marbles, mosaics and stone reliefs is commendable and speaks well of his technical prowess. Not only was Poynter an accomplished painter, but as president of the Royal Academy for 23 year (1896-1919), he was responsible for the education of hundreds of other artists.