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Paul Delaroche Hardcover – September 29, 1997

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Review

Delaroche (1797-1856) was an early success as a painter and remained successful throughout his life. He has been ignored since his death. Mr. Bann undertakes to account for this odd situation and hopes to revive interest in Delaroche. Speculation about family tensions and rivalries is not much help in either of these causes, but examination of the paintings is interesting. Delaroche was a history painter, but not in the moralizing, inspirational manner of David. The post-Napoleonic public had seen more than enough of that sort of thing. Delaroche selected historical episodes likely to attract interest--the murder of the Duc de Guise, the death of Mazarin--and painted them with great attention to details of costume, well-composed and plausible arrangements of the participants, and no indication of his own opinion of the event. He is reported to have said, on his first view of a daguerreotype, "From today painting is dead." He in fact became much interested in photography. It did for the present what he tried to do for the past--it got the shot. Delaroche remained, in effect, a paparazzo with a brush, while painters in general turned to agitation, editorializing, psychological inquiry, and the cultivation of individualistic brushwork. Delaroche was a fine technician, though, with a nice eye for the dramatic moment. He deserves the reappraisal that Mr. Bann hopes to provoke in honor of his 200th birthday. -- The Atlantic Monthly, Phoebe-Lou Adams
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069101745X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691017457
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,842,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By paintingmn on January 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Bann's book is thoroughly researched and yes, there are some tiny errors as pointed out by "A Reader" in his Nov 2001 review, but where "A Reader" misses the mark is when he proclaims Delaroche "an unremarkable artist". Wrong! Delaroche's amazing technical skill far eclipsed those of ANY Romantic painter and also of the "remarkable" Ingres, Bougereau and ALL other academecians one can name. Any artist that has attempted portraiture will tell you of the near-impossible feat of obtaining results that Delaroche achieved with his handling of color, value and especially edges in his almost incomprehensible ability to apply and blend paint. Only Phililppe de Champagne (1602-1664) could equal Delaroche as a portrait painter as any visitor to the Louvre with even a semi-educated eye can tell you. Perhaps the only real fault with Bann's book is his failure to provide enough close-ups of Delaroche's work so working painters today can learn from the efforts of Paul Delaroche, easily one of the most technically skilled painters in history.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Caldermobile on June 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Bann's book is a true joy and a work of art. Paul Delaroche was one of the great artists of the 19th century, but has never obtained the position in modern day, art history books he so rightly deserves. Bann analyzes works such as "The Execution of Lady Jane Grey" and "The Young Christiam Martyr." Bann's examination is thorough and fair. So little is written on Delaroche, that it is a joy to find such a complete study. The color plates are stunning. A very well written book.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A book on Paul Delaroche by Stephen Bann is necessary to understand the Romantic movement following the Neo-Classical period pioneered by J L David. A Frenchman, his most famous paintings surprisingly are on English history, chiefly his The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, The Princes in the Tower, and Cromwell and Charles I.
His few forays into Napoleonic memorabilia resulted in two fine paintings of Napoleon in his Study and Napoleon at Fontainbleu, and the later Napoleon crossing the Alps, an uninteresting painting, even if somewhat historically more accurate than David's earlier heroic depiction of Bonaparte crossing the St Bernard Alps, calmly mounted on an unconvincing charger.
The author has made a very informed attempt to flesh out Delaroche's psyche through thematic discoveries in his paintings.
One error that I found was that Henri-James Guillaume Clarke was never Marshal under Napoleon, but was Duc de Feltre and Minister of War under Napoleon. He was created Marshal under the Bourbon Restoration.
The end result is a very illuminating biography on an unremarkable artist whose style was outmoded. Delaroche was lauded in his lifetime - a protégé of Horace Vernet and possibly Jean L. Gros, he continued on in the tradition of history paintings but without the flair of David. He has been eclipsed by his other more famous contemporaries, Ingres and Delacroix, who are most closely connected with the Romantic movement and he has been largely ignored in this century.
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