THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST

Thursday, April 23, 2009

a few miniatures of interest from Europe

August von Goethe by Karl Josef Raabe


August did not come close to the exhalted heights of cultural fame achieved by his father Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He is sadly more known as the untalented child of a genius. Although having a relatively good marriage and three children, August turned to alcohol, which may have played a role in his early death on a trip to Rome, age 40, in 1830. Karl Josef Raabe (1780-1849) was a German painter, engineer, and architect. In 1811 he went to the court of Weimar where he painted miniatures, including Goethe and his son August.


Napoleon's son the Duke de Reichstadt, From the Miniaturenkabinett in the Hofburg, Austria

Napoleon's wife Empress Josephine miniature by Daniel Saint


The style of female dress “empire waist” was popularized by Josephine, spreading across the Atlantic to become the preferred fashion in the new Republic as well (as seen on Ann Penington by Gibby, who is holding a miniature silhouette, and on the "lady holding her most favorite jewel" in the entry before this one). The widow Rose de Beauharnais snared Napoleon Bonaparte’s immediate interest the moment she stood before him to plead that her young son might keep his father’s sword. She was unable to have children, and after much emotional turmoil, Napoleon felt obliged to divorce his beloved Empress Josephine. He quickly married a Habsburg princess who had their son, the Duc de Reichstadt. The young man was sent to live in Austria after Napoleon was forced abdicate and was exiled. Suffering from TB, the only child of N died in 1832 at the age of 21.

As mentioned before, in the time of no phone or twitter, small messages were sent back and forth, sometimes several times a day. A message from Napoleon to Josephine:
“You will be leaving the city at noon. But I shall see you in three hours. Until then, mio dolce amor, I send you a thousand kisses—but send me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.”

~

3 comments:

The Clever Pup said...

Like my blog entry today. The Heart is an Organ of Fire.

I thought the little chap looked like a junior Mozart. What about all those other Napoleons in Paris - were they cousins?

Beth Ahrens-Kley said...

Napoleon had 4 brothers and 3 sisters all running around him, and he doled out crowns to a number of them. Jerome Bonapart married an American lady from Baltimore, which N did not approve of. But the two swished through American society until Jerome was ordered back to Paris minus spouse. GS was an admirer of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte.

emikk said...

Think it's time for society to bring the empire waist back in style?

 
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