The Crown of Empress Eugénie was the consort crown of Eugénie de Montijo, the empress consort of Emperor Napoleon III of France. Though neither she nor her husband underwent a coronation a consort crown was specially created for her. Though most of the French Crown Jewels were sold by the French Third Republic in 1887, the Crown of Empress Eugénie was kept and is on display in the Louvre museum in The Apollo room. In the spirit of full disclosure I took pictures of these crowns but they were in a glass case with lots of reflections and I decided to use pictures from the web.
This is another in my series on the Louvre, trying to break it up into manageable pieces. Antoine Coysevox was a distinguished French sculptor (1640-1720) who belonged to a family originally from Spain. At the age of seventeen he executed a much admired Madonna. In 1671 he was employed by Louis XIV on various sculptures at Versailles and at Marly. Marly was a small Palace built in 1679 for Louis XIV primarily as a hydraulic station for the fountains at Versailles, dismantled in 1800. The work pictured above is “Neptune” from Marly now at the Louvre in the Richelieu wing. Coysevox made two bronze statues of Louis XIV, the “Charlemagne” at Saint-Louis des Invalides, and other famous works, but his most famous is probably “La Renommée” at the entrance of the Tuileries — two winged horses bearing Mercury and Fame. Napoleon is said to have delighted in the sculptor’s fancy that the horse of Mercury should have a bridle, but not that of Fame. Coysevox also produced some fine sepulchral monuments for the churches of Paris. We owe him a special debt for his contemporary portraits.
François Girardon produced his last masterpiece in Paris: the bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV, on the place Vendôme. He took over from Pierre Pugot who subsequently retired. In 1699 he completed the statue, erected by the town of Paris on the Place Louis le Grand. This statue was melted down during the French Revolution, and is known to us only by a small bronze model (shown above in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre) finished by Girardon himself. Designed on a scale with the setting (30 feet tall) it was to influence all similar statues in France and in Europe. The foot of the original statue is in the Getty museum in LA.
In France, in the middle of the seventeenth century, the principle role of sculptors was to decorate Versailles or the royal chateau. The influence of Bernini was everywhere, his style was characterized by movement and virtuosity. Giradon, Pugot, Zirn and Coysevox all were all heavily influenced by Bernini.
Born in Troyes, Girardon was the closest collaborator of Le Brun (architect of Versailles) and also the protégé of the Chancellor Séguier. Sent to Rome where he studied art with Bernini, he worked on the decor of the Apollo Gallery of the Louvre, his first royal commission (1659), then in the Tuileries.
A collection of crown jewels around the time of Napoleon III was on display near the Apartments of Napoleon III. From left to right they are the tiara of Marie-Theres, the only living daughter of Napoleon I and Marie-Antoinette, Empess Eugene's diamond bow broach and Empress Eugene's Pearl parure made for her wedding to Napoleon III. All of these pieces had to be rebought, at considerable expense, after the dispersal of the Crown Jewels in 1887.
This is part of a series I am doing on the Louvre, stuff I really love. There is so much art at the Louvre this is an endless task, but at least I am giving it a try. The portrait above was done in 1660 (he died in 1669), late in his life titled “Portrait of the Artist at his Easel.”
Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.
It wasn't until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when scholars studied Rembrandt's oeuvre as a whole, that it was discovered how very many times the artist had portrayed himself. The number is still a matter of contention, but it seems he depicted himself in approximately forty to fifty extant paintings, about thirty-two etchings, and seven drawings. It is an output unique in history; most artists produce only a handful of self-portraits, if that. And why Rembrandt did this is one of the great mysteries of art history.
Rembrandt may have used his own face because the model was cheap, but perhaps he was killing two birds with one stone. The art-buying public–which now included people from many walks of life, not only aristocratic or clerical patrons, as in the past–went for etchings of famous people, including artists. By using himself as the model for these and other studies, Rembrandt was making himself into a recognizable celebrity at the same time that he gave the public strikingly original and expressive tronies. The wide dissemination of these and other prints was important in establishing Rembrandt's reputation as an artist.
According to legend, Alexander the Great came to visit the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope. Alexander wanted to fulfill a wish for Diogenes and asked him what he desired. According to the version recounted by Diogenes Laërtius, Diogenes replied “Stand out of my light.” Plutarch provides a longer version of the story:
Thereupon many statesmen and philosophers came to Alexander with their congratulations, and he expected that Diogenes of Sinope also, who was tarrying in Corinth, would do likewise. But since that philosopher took not the slightest notice of Alexander, and continued to enjoy his leisure in the suburb Craneion, Alexander went in person to see him; and he found him lying in the sun. Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many persons coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. And when that monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, “Yes,” said Diogenes, “stand a little out of my sun.” It is said that Alexander was so struck by this, and admired so much the haughtiness and grandeur of the man who had nothing but scorn for him, that he said to his followers, who were laughing and jesting about the philosopher as they went away, “But truly, if I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.”