Monday, 18 September 2017

Is there a face of Robespierre?

Here is a montage of some of the images of Robespierre which I rate as most authentic.  Do they capture the man?  Frustratingly the answer is no, not really...

To provide some frame of reference, here are some insightful comments from David Jordan's  The Revolutionary Career of Maximilien Robespierre:

There are two basic representations of Robespierre: one in three-quarters full face, the other in profile....Virtually all the portraits, even those used to caricature the man, are derived from these basic views.  All the formal portraits, as well as the sketches made from life and a great many of the caaricatures, reveal the same features.  In terms of shape of head, size and shape of eyes and nose and mouth and ears, jawline and chin, there is general agreement. Robespierre had large, almond-shaped eyes set off by long eyebrows that curved slightly.  He had a high forehead and in some images appears to have had a receding hairline.  His nose had prominent nostrils, and appeared flat in full face and sloped upward to a slight point in profile.  His mouth was large, his upper lip prominently bowed, and he had large ears.  His chin was articulated but not especially prominent.  His expression derived almost entirely from his eyes and his mouth, and by slight emphasis of one or the other an artist could change his appearance.  There is one curiosity about the face:  in full face it is fleshy in profile angular and lean.... (p.249) 

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