Saturday, 29 July 2017

Robespierre portraits - Some additions


Watercolour by Moreau le Jeune, musée Lambinet

A striking image, and one which is familiar from the internet, but there seems to be no available documentation.  The illustrator and engraver Jean-Michel Moreau (1741-1814) was sympathetic to the Revolution.  He produced a famous engraving of the opening of the States-General in 1789 and a portrait of Charlotte Corday, also in the musée Lambinet.  This is surely the archetypal "cat-like look" Robespierre.

Pastel attributed to Boze, Versailles, Musée national du château et des Trianons

45cm x 36,5 cm.  Sanguine, chalk and pastel on paper
The notice says only that the picture was the gift of M. de Knyff, in December 1952: date about 1794, "attributed to Boze"; but can all these disparate pictures really be by Boze?  I suppose the experts could tell if the picture were a fake, but it looks really modern to me!  M. de Knyff is probably the art historian Gilbert de Knyff.

Anonymous drawing of Robespierre from the Bibliothèque Nationale

Reproduced in David Jordan, Revolutionary career, plate VI. "A contemporary sketch of Robespierre at the tribune of the Convention.  The formality of his dress, including a wig, is apparent. The small, circumscribed gesture captured by the anonymous artist agress with the verbal descriptions of Robespierre's manner at the tribune.  His an authentic detail, since he always spoke from a text."

I can't find the drawing on Gallica.  

I am just slightly worried by how close the pose is to this 19th -century engraving after Eugène Joseph Viollat (d.1901).

Portrait by the miniaturist Michel Thoüesny (1754-1815) 

Thoüesny painted Robespierre's portrait in 1791 whilst he lodged in the rue Saintonge. The painting has never been identified with certainty but of  interest is the revelation that Robespierre posed for itIn 1796 a certain citoyenne Naudet was interrogated and admitted to having known Robespierre: she testified "that her first husband, called Thoüesny, was a painter of miniatures and had painted Robespierre's portrait at the house of the commander of the batallion Enfans Rouge, in the rue de St.Onge (sic); that the citizen Robespierre had posed several times so that he could be painted from nature; that she believed that her husband had dined several times with the citizen Robespierre; that her husband had charged her with transporting the portrait to the rue Saint-Honoré to a carpenter's house where Robespierre then lived."

See: Michel Eude, "Robespierre et le miniaturiste Thoüesny" Annales historiques de la Révolution française (1955) 27/140 (1955), p.193-201 [on JStor] 

Drawing by Vivant Denon, sold by Christie's, Paris on 23 June 2009

Vivant Denon, claimed spuriously that this Robespierre was "by David".   It seems unlikely that picture is drawn from life; but it is still worthy of note, since Vivant Denon had known Robespierre personally and was well acquainted with contemporary portraits.


These  images are in Buffenoir, but not catalogued by Thompson as they are derivative. 

Lithograph by Delpech

Buffenoir, vol.2(2), p. 55-6; Jordan, plate VIII, see p.254.  
Original lithograph by François Séraphin Delpech, one of a series of Revolutionary and Empire portraits produced in the 1820s. The print is best known in the version produced by Henri Grevedon.  Charlotte Robespierre thought it "one of the most lifelike" images of her brother.  It was probably the lithograph portrait mentioned in her death inventory in 1834.

Medallion modelled by Jacques-Auguste Collet in September 1791

Éléonore Duplay mentioned as a precious momento a plaster medallion modelled by Collet who was a designer for the Sèvres factory. Quite probably it once hung on the wall in the Duplay's salon. 

The medal was subject of a 19th-century print by Léopold Flameng.

Checklist of Robespierre portraits, set 3

31.  Anonymous pastel, in Buffenoir's collection, reproduced by him (2)

(Head and shoulders,  side-face right, queue, high stock, coat with dark collar, patterned waistcoat open at the throat.)
I can't find this one - Thompson's reference is to the drawing (No.11) which the label says is "in the manner of a pastel".

32. Lithograph, from a picture attributed to David, in M. Buffenoir's collection, and reproduced by him (10)

(Full length, tail coat, sash, breeches, boots;  Robespierre making a speech.  MS on desk right, background of citizens behind barrier.)
Buffenoir, vol. 1(2) p.254-5.  Plate 4.   
Presumed to represent an unlocated original portrait by David.  I am not sure whether there are any copies of this lithograph in addition to Buffenoir's reproduction?

33. Anonymous oil-painting originally from the collection of Arsène Houssaye, now in M. Buffenoir's collection; shown at the Galérie Georges Petit in 1893.

(Head and shoulders, side-face right, in oval frame, dark coat with three buttons, knotted stock.) Interesting, but not Robespierre's eyes. Reproduced Buffenoir (20)

Buffenoir,  plate 8. Not otherwise known?

34. Anonymous miniature, perhaps by Ducreux

(Head and shoulders, 3/4 face right, in oval frame). Not like Robespierre.  Reproduced in Buffenoir (22)

Is this the portrait already listed as No. 22?  In any case it probably isn't Robespierre? 

35. Anonymous oil painting from Dr. H. D.'s collection, reproduced in Buffenoir (26)

(Head and shoulders, 3/4 face right; not the least like Robespierre)

Buffenoir plate 10. Not otherwise known?

36. Anonymous oil painting from M. Buffenoir's collection, reproduced by him (28)

(1/2 length, sideface, right, head stiffly thrown back, huge stock, collar and jabot.) Almost a caricature.

Buffenoir plate 11. 
Otherwise unknown?  Not a very high quality painting.

37. Anonymous oil-painting in the Musée Carnavalet

(Head and shoulders, 3/4 face left, hair brushed back, high stock, big jabot and collar, with striped revers, in square frame.) Has the cat-like look.

 Presumably this isn't in Buffenoir.  I haven't been able to find it in the Musée Carnavalet collections either so far.... 

38. Anonymous painting

(Head, in oval, with square frame, three-quarters left, very faded). Reproduced in Buffenoir (34) 

? I wonder if this is the same painting as No.26 - the picture is illustrated both in Buffenoir's original AR article and in the monograph version.

39. Sketch by Gros, almost a caricature, from nature,  from M. George Cain's collection.  Reproduced (very small) in Buffenoir (38)

Now in the Musée Carnavalet:

Drawing on paper, 12.3 cm x 8.2 cm  

40. Sketch by Pajou (?) belonging to M. Martin-Schrameck.

(Head and shoulders, side face left, curled hair, ribboned queue)

Buffenoir plate 17. Not otherwise recorded? 

41. Sketch by J. Boze (?) left by Albertine Marat to the BN.

(1/2 length, 3/4 left).Not much like Robespierre.

Buffenoir, vol 1(4) p.645-6

Buffenoir reports that according to M. Armand Dayot the picture was offered to the Cabinet des Estampes by Marat's sister and presumably originally belonged to Marat himself.

Reproduced in David P. Jordan, Revolutionary career, Plate VII:  Jordan comments:  "The portrait has a kind of intensity that is lacking in most of the portraits.  Partly this is created by having the figure emerge so starkly out of a black background" (p.254).

This looks like a pastel - possibly it is one of a series of "deputies" by Boze which included Mirabeau, Danton and Marat.   Does it still exist in the BN?  I can't find any modern reproductions.

42. Crayon drawing in two colours by J. Boze (?), in the Versailles Museum
Crayon drawing, 44 cm x  39 cm

(Head and shoulders, side face left)  Like No.40, but idealized.

Reproduced in Buffenoir, Plate 18bis."Portrait aux deux crayons, attributed to Boze"

Versailles catalogue entry:
According to this, the drawing was "formerly ascribed to Antoine-Paul Vincent".

The design had the following annotation  on the back in the hand of Charles Vatel: "Ce rare et précieux crayon du temps représente d'une manière frappante le portrait au naturel de Maximilien Robespierre"

See:  Fernand Beaucamp, "Un portrait inconnu de Robespierre au musée de Lille",  Revue du Nord 1928, vol.53, pp.21-34. 
p.28 with reference to Buffenoir, p.30 (in the monograph?) 

John Laurence Carr, Robespierre p.51 reproduces an engraving which is identical, which he gives as: "Engr.  Fouquet (Radio Times Hulton Picture Library").

I wonder, therefore,  it this might be  the original drawing by Jean-Baptiste Fouquet for the physionotrace of Robespierre (No.19).   It is certainly very similar.

43. Engraving by Beljambe, from Gros, reproduced by Buffenoir (86) from his collection.

(Head and shoulders, side-face right, in oval, above pediment, with inscription La loi et le roi)  Previous to August 1792.

Buffenoir, vol.1(4), p 648-9. Plate 35.

See Jordan, Revolutionary career,  plate V, and p.253: "One of the many mass-produced portraits of the deputies, issued in series by various booksellers, inexpensive, and intended for broad distribution.  This one is from a volume entitled La collection de Jabin (Jabin was the publisher).  The original drawing as done by Gros, the engraving by Beljambe.  The medallion at the bottom of the ornamental plinth, "la Loi et le Roi," represents the cachet of the Constituent Assembly.  Robespierre's date of birth is wrong:  he was born in 1758 not 1760.  Gros's  original sketch is in the Bibliothèque Nationale.  The wig he is wearing here appears in many portraits" 

 Copies are relatively numerous.  See for example:
The original drawing by Gros  is illustrated in the Stanford Digital collection:


44.  Engraving by Gautier, after Bonneville, from Buffenoir's collection, and reproduced by him (94).  Also an English engraving by Chapman

(Head and shoulders, side-face left)  Like No.42 but more lifelike.

Buffenoir, AR vol.1(4) p.650-1, Plate 13. "The portrait by Bonneville, which has become rare, passes with reason as one of the finest of Maximilien, on the same level as Guérin and Fiesinger.  The artist understood the soul of Robespierre.."

In fact this engraving, or variants on it, are quite well-known, for example:;2
Portrait by Bonneville, engraved by B. Gautier. 11 cm x 9 cm. Inscribed "Deputy of the Department of Paris to the National Convention in 1792; decapitated 10 Thermidor, Year II of the Republic."   [One of a large series of portraits by François Bonneville, an artist who specialised in likeness of Revolutionary and Imperial celebrities.]


Buffenoir also lists an English engraving by Chapman after Bonneville, which Thompson characterises as "very similar".  This must be the print, but it isn't the same and it clearly isn't Robespierre!

Portrait by J. Chapman, after F. Bonneville, post 1794

45. Anonymous oil painting belonging to the Société archéologique 'La Cité'

(Head and shoulders, full face, blue coat, white cravat, jabot.) Like no. 8 but not as good.  See AR, vol.2(3), p.387-8.

46. Oil painting by David (?) or Doucre (Doncre?), given by M. Nadar to the Musée de Longchamps in Marseille in 1898, and reproduced in A.R. 4/206

Wrong in almost every particular, but not unlike No.27.

Documented in: Joseph Letaconnoux, "Un portrait inconnu de Robespierre", Annales révolutionnaires, 1911, vol.4(2): p. 206-13
On Joconde: Oil 46cm x 37cm. Gift of Paul Nadar. There is no real evidence that this is Robespierre - looks more like Jefferson!

47. Anonymous painting, in England (?), known only in Egleton's engraving. Belonging to J.B. Jarman (?)

Buffenoir, AR, vol.1(2), p.256.  Plate 41b.
This is clearly the same portrait as the one used in the well-known engraving by Vérité, which is described separately by Buffenoir but not listed by Thompson: 
See: Buffenoir, vol.1(4),  p.647: Maximilien Marie Isidore Robespierre, duputy of the Province of Artois. Portrait  "drawn from nature", engraved by Vérité.   Oval medallion on striped background. 12cm by 9cm. Bust facing to the left on a dark background, powdered wig, loose white cravat, collarless coat, ceremonial cloak.  Verse commending Robespierre as the "Incorruptible friend of the people". Exists in monochrome and coloured versions 

Here is a coloured version from the BN:

A version in oils - possibly the original painting - was acquired by Versailles in 1909. It is listed as previously belonging to the Vicomte de Cormenin.

Oil on canvas, 60cm x 50cm

Hervé Leuwers chose this picture for the cover of his 2016 biography of Robespierre. 
The fullest notice is on Joconde:
See also, on Histoire par l'Image:

48. Drawing of Robespierre and his dog Brount, described in A.R. 2/391

According to Buffenoir, this was a small oval portrait which belonged to Victorien Sardou; sold in 1909. Sadly, it is not to be found.

49. Print by Godefroy (Geoffrey?) of 1794, belonging to G. Laurent, v. A.H. 5/63

See Gustave Laurent, Annales historiques de la Révolution française 1928, vol. 5(25): p. 63-5.  Edme-Bonaventure Courtois (1754-1816), the member of the Convention charged with Robespierre's papers after Thermidor, had a limited edition of prints made by "the engraver Godefroy" after an original portrait in Robespierre's possession which was a "striking ressemblance".  The picture and the engravings are untraced;  there is no need to image an engraving by "Geoffrey" since Jean and François Godefroy are well-known portrait engravers of the period.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Checklist of Robespierre portraits, set 2

17. Painting (?) by David,1792 (?), in dress and theatrical pose of a deputy; said to have been done, like No. 16, for the Duplays.
 I am not sure what Thompson's documentation is for the existence of this portrait, nor how it relates to the lithograph (No.32).  He writes says  that the picture, now lost, may perhaps be identified with one recorded in the journal of Alfred de Vigny as in the possession of the Prince de Ligne:
See: Annales révolutionnaires, vol.10(5), p.696: "Portrait of Robespierre by David" - described as the head of Robespierre in pastel, showing his dark, almond-shaped eyes, melancholy smile and regular teeth.

18. Oil painting by Lefèvre, 1792, from E. Hamel's collection, now in the Carnavalet Museum

(3/4 length, sitting, 3/4 face right, holding book open on kneeds; curled hair, dark coat, white jabot and waistcoat, lace cuffs).  Interesting, rather sinister, in bad condition.  Reproduced in Buffenoir (32)

Buffenoir, vol.1(2) p.260-1, plate 13.

Notice from the Musée Carnavalet: 
For once there is a clear answer on the status of this portrait.  Not Robespierre!
In 1988 the painting was cleaned and the identifying inscription found to be an addition.  The figure itself had been over-painted in order to make it look more like Robespierre. The newly cleaned portrait is a fine one, but the sitter is at present unknown.

19. Engraving by Chrétien after Fouquet, 1792

Buffenoir AR vol.1(4) p.646-7. Plate 31A:  "An imperceptible smile, hardly found elsewhere, reveals a joie de vivre, but the image is fundamentally seriousness and commands respect."  One of the first mentions of Robespierre as 'the Incorruptible'" 

A physionotrace portrait of Robespierre "after a drawing" by Jean-Baptiste Fouquet; right profile. 6 cm. 

Compare no. 42, which is possibly the original drawing.The heavy shading around the eye is characteristic of the physionotrace process.  

20. An anonymous oil painting of 1793(?) given by Clémenceau to the Carnavalet Museum.

(3/4 right, blue coat, with red and white revers, knotted cravat.)

Buffenoir, AR vol.1 (2) p.260:  "The dominent expression is energy;  it is the Robespierre of the great battles of the Convention." 

Buffenoir does not include a plate, but I think it is this portrait which is reproduced on several internet sites from old books.   I don't know whether it is still in the Carnavalet collections - I can't find a modern reference or a coloured picture. In any case, it does not look to be a very high-quality painting, though it is clearly Robespierre.

21. Anonymous water colour (?) of 1793 (?) representing Robespierre in his room at the Duplays; in Buffenoir's collection.  Reproduced in Buffenoir (36)

AR vol 1(2) p. 262-4; plate 15  An important image, known only, I think, from Buffenoir's reproduction.

22. Oil painting (?) of 1793 (?) by Ducreux (?)in the collection of of M.G.C.-L., supposed to have been shown at the Salon of 1793.
Buffenoir, vol.2(3),Appendix p.388.  Plate 9.

Buffenoir describes this picture as in the collection of M.Gaston Calmann-Lévy; his identification with the portrait exhibited at the Salon of 1793 is only speculative.

The Dictionary of Pastellists lists three different Robespierre portraits by Ducreux, the first of which is the portrait sold by Sotheby's in 2003. A second picture is documented as a chalk  exhibited in 1793. This just cannot be this portrait - the sitter simply isn't Robespierre.

Exerpt from the Dictionnary of Pastellists: Ducreux's "Robespierres":

23. Engraving by Kugner, 1793, with title Robespierre unter den Jacobinern

See Buffenoir, AR vol.1(2) p.233. 

Engraving on wood showing Robespierre at the Jacobins Signed A.W. Kugner 1793.

In the BN./Stanford Digital Archive

24. Oil painting by Greuze, 1794, bought at Lord Lonsdale's sale, and now in Lord Rosebery's collection.

A fine portrait but is it Robespierre?

Buffenoir, AR, vol.1(2), p.255-6.  Plate 5

The answer is "no". This is without doubt one of the many self-portraits produced by Ducreux.  See entry in the Dictionary of Pastellists:

There is no information as to present location.

25. Oil painting by Boutteville, in England (?) engraved by Jones, in 1794 as "Robbespierre"

(Robespierre as a schoolboy, head and shoulders, side face left, plain coat and shirt; attractive but it might be anyone.) The engraving is reprodued by Buffenoir (16)
Buffenoir, AR, vol.1(2), p.255-6.  Plate 6.
In the BN: 

26.  Oil painting by Fragonard, 1794, reproduced in A.R. 1/257. 

(Nearly full face, in damaged condition) Is it Robespierre?

Buffenoir vol.1(2), p.262. Plate 14. 

This is an anonymous painting which was in Buffenoir's own  collection.  Buffenoir in fact only claimed that the style is reminiscent of Fragonard. Current whereabouts unknown?

27. Oil painting (?) signed Diogg, P.,1794,  now at Arcueil-Cachan

....dress and hair are unlike him.

See Pierre Marcel, "Contribution à l'iconographie de Robespierre", Annales révolutionnaires, 1912, vol.5(1): p.37-40.
Bought by the chemist F.-V. Raspail in Brussels in 1852 or 1853;  in 1912 it was in the collection of the museum  founded by Raspail in Arcueil-Cachan.  
Felix Maria Diogg (1762 –1834) was a Swiss painter.

A Robespierre with sideburns?! !

28. Pen and ink sketch by P. Grandmaison, done in the Convention on July 27 (9 Thermidor) 1794.

(Head, side-face left) From the Charavay collection.  Reproduced in Buffenoir (118)

Buffenoir, AR vol.1(4): p.659. 
By François-Auguste Parseval-Grandmaison.  From the collection of Étienne Charavay; now in the BN.  The annotation reads "Portrait of Robespierre made in pen by Parseval-Grandmaison at the sitting of the 9th Thermidor. (These words are in the hand of M. de Longueville, to whom Parseval-Grandmaison gave this drawing)." 
On Grandmaison, see

29. Sketch in India ink, Mess II, belonging to Mlle Louise Lévi, described in A.R.2/387

Buffenoir vol.2(3),Appendix p.389:  Buffenoir suggests this is possibly the last portrait of Robespierre apart from the sketch by Grandmaison on 9 Thermidor. 

Buffenoir's description sounds like this engraving in the BN.

There is no date on the engraving. [Perhaps it is the engraving produced by Courtois (No.49)?]

30. Death-mask, 1794

Thompson did not believe the deathmask/lifemask to be authentic.  Personally, I am totally convinced; if not Robespierre, then who else could it be? Here is a recent digital mock-up by Marie Lasbleiz

[To be continued]

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Checklist of Robespierre portraits, set 1

The following is  a transcription of the list of contemporary or near contemporary portraits given in the Appendix to J.M. Thompson's 1934 biography of Robespierre.  Thompson relies mainly on Buffenoir's classic work Portraits de Robespierre (1908/9) with a few additions and comments.  The list is broadly chronological.

It is frustrating to note just how few of these pictures have a reliable provenance.  Not many are in public collections -  a good few, indeed, seem to be known only from Buffenoir's plates.

1. Oil painting by J. Boze, exhibited at the Exposition, Paris et la Révolution in 1931; reproduced in R.S.W. Ward, Robespierre: a study in deterioration (1934) as representing Robespierre at the age 17. 

 It looks much younger, there is no resemblance to the later portraits; the dress is not that of a poor scholar; and why should Boze have painted Robespierre then? (1.2 length,3/4 left. frizzed hair, and queue; dark coat with high collar, white stock, arms crossed.)

In Getty Images with date of 1800.
Present location unknown (?)

2. Oil painting by Boilly, done at Arras in 1783, when Robespierre was 24. It belonged to the family, and was purchased for the Carnavalet Museum (where it is now) at the Dancoise sale in Paris about 1900. 

It is reproduced in Buffenoir (frontispiece) (1/2 length, 3/4 left, powdered hair, pointed collar, stock, lace jabot, coat with 4 large buttons, right and in waistcoat with small buttons)

Buffenoir (frontispiece). AR vol.1(2), p.247-50:  Robespierre "before the storm of '89": Buffenoir comments on "the honesty which the face breaths and the strength it reveals"

Musée Carnavalet, oil on canvas, 67cm x 52 cm
This painting is now generally considered to represent Augustin Robespierre.

3. Picture in the Saint-Albin collection, described by Michelet (2/257) and Lewis (53) with the inscription Tous pour mon amie;  said to be the earliest portrait of Robespierre.  Should belong to much the same date as No. 2. 

References are to:  Michelet, Histoire de la R.F. vol. 2, p.257; and G.H.L. Lewis The life of Maximilien Robespierre (1899), p.53. Now lost?  See Buffenoir, AR vol.2(3): p.389

4. Oil painting by Danloux, done in Arras in 1789 (aet 27) and showing Robespierre (?) in the dress of a deputy to the States-General;  in a private collection.

(3/4 length, full face, frizzed hair, right hand holding hat under left arm, left hand on sword-hilt, black frock-coat and waistcoat.)  It looks too young (Robespierre was 31 in 1789) and bears no resemblance to later portraits.

Buffenoir, AR, vol. 1(2) p.256-9. Present location unknown(?).

There is a possible copy by Pierre-Roch Vigneron in the Versailles collections (oil on canvas, 75 cm x 58 cm.)  Despite Thompson's misgivings, the picture is generally accepted to represent Robespierre. 

Carr, Robespierre: the force of circumstance (1972) reproduces a photograph of the Vigneron portrait, or its original, from the Mansell Collection which he annotates as "The so-called 'Irish' portrait by Vaquelin, engraved by Guyard".  Not sure Vaquelin was, or what to conclude, other than that the history of this image is very muddled!  

5. Anonymous oil painting in the Musée Carnavalet, perhaps of 1789

(1/2 length, life size, striped coat; gilet and jabot);  reproduced in Jaures, 1/233.)

Buffenoir, AR vol.1(2) 259-60.

The iconic image of Robespierre.

Oil on canvas, 60 × 49 cm.  Acquired by the Carnavalet in 1883. Provenance unknown.

6. Engraving by Fiesinger, after Guérin

Buffenoir, AR vol.1(4) 647-8. Plate 33.  "This portrait is considered by connoisseurs as one of the best executed."

Portrait by Guérin, engraved by Gabriel  Fiesinger. Inscribed "M. M. J. Robespierre, Deputy for Artois in the National Assembly in 1789".    
One of a series depicting deputies of the Constituent:

There are many examples and variants of this engraving.

See the discussion in: Notes and Queries, 4th series, 5/341,432:

PRINT OF ROBESPIERRE. I should much like to learn something of a print now before me: portrait, half-face, paper octavo page size, metal,  print, oval 3 x 3 in. exactly to line, set off from stipple, printed off in reddish-brown ink ; the paper seems cut down, and the print may have formed part of a volume, as there is a narrow strip, whiter than the plate- paper, pasted along backedge, evidently cut with a knife. The print is titled  M. M. J. Robespierre Dessiné par J. Guérin, Gravé par Fiesinger. The portrait was likely drawn in sanguine, and the ink of the printing kept near the colour.

What is known of Guérin, the designer, and Fiesinger, a German from his name? I have seen many portraits of the âme damnée of the Revolution, but no one for one moment to be compared to this before me. The delicate minute beauty of the work, the spirit, force, and character of the head, the intense, nervous, searching look of the eyes, the compression at the mouth, the almost visible palpitation at the nostrils, and the cat-like intensity of the whole expression are most marvellous. The large low-set ear, half seen, the massive jaw, the firm well-rounded chin, the thin compressed lips and long upper lip, the peculiar slightly retroussé nose, small nostrils and wide [alfc]?, fluttering with every gust of passion, the lean retreating forehead, and above all the cold, piercing, bloodthirsty look of the eye, tell so plainly the story of the man as to force on one the conviction of their fidelity to nature of the most minute and absolute kind. The high-collared coat, with large oval buttons, ample white necker- chief in artistic multiplicity of fold, knot and bow rippling down, a cascade of light and shade to meet the shirt-frill just seen clear of the coat- lapel; the hair, tied in a black ribbon (pigtail), seen on cheek and behind the ear to be dark, covered by a legal wig of one row of curls, sug- gest the idea of some gala as the occasion of the portrait. The youthful look of the face is startling:
Born, Arras, 1759; depute, Paris, 1789; guillotined there July 28, 1794; he was only thirty-five.-. And all the horror of his name is contained in five terrible years.  He got a public triumph in 1791.  Is this a likely date for the portrait? He would then be thirty-two, which would agree with the portrait as to age pretty well.

PRINT OF ROBESPIERRE (4 th S. v. 341.) - I can only answer partially to this query.  The print is one of a series - all good and expressive - by Fiesinger after J. Guerin.  The others I likewise possess are Petion, Rewbell, Barnave, Charles and Alexandre Lameth, Malouett, Rabaut, St. Etienne, Bertand, Barere de Vieuzac, La Rochefoucauld, Liancourt and Mirabeau.  They can be had at Danlo aine,  Quai Voltaire Paris.
Under the name of Robespierre stands, "Depute de l'Artois a l'Assemblee Nationale en 1789" which gives the probable date of this print.  He was then thirty years of age.

7.  Silhouette of 1790-91(?) attributed by Rabbe to Fragonard.

Thompson refers to an exchange in La Révolution française : revue historique (1900) vol. 38, p.256; 470; vol. 39, p. 278,382 ,462.
the upshot of the discussion is that it does not represent Robespierre".

The portrait in question  is one of a pair of medallions painted on the stairs of the villa Maubert in Grasse. Fragonard's sejourn at the villa is now usually dated to 1790-91, a date also suggested for the picture by the fact that the companion portrait is that of the abbé Grégoire.  There seems no particular reason to doubt that this is intended to be Robespierre.
Photo by Renaud Camus:

8. An anonymous oil painting of 1790-91 (?) in a private collection, v. A.R.2/387

 (Head and shoulders, full face; puce coat,large revers, high collar, white cravat and jabot.)
See Buffenoir, AR vol. 2(3), Appendix p.387
 36cm x 46cm.
According to Buffenoir, an inscription on an old calling card was stuck to the back:  "Isidore-Maximilien Robespierre, Arras, 1759 à 1794. Directeur du Comité de Salut public (Couton (sic) et Saint- Just), attaqué et vaincu par un parti, le 10 Thermidor (28 Jl). Son frère guillotiné le lendemain."

? Hum. I'm sure I've seen a photo of a portrait with a card on the back.... but I can't find it now.

9. Pastel by Mme Guyard, shown in the Salon of 1791; since lost.

Buffenoir, AR vol.1(2), p.250-2.  
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard exhibited in the Salon of 1791 thirteen portraits of public men, of which No.34 was Robespierre.

Robespierre's correspondence contains a letter from the engraver Marie-François Drouhin requesting permission to reproduce the Labille-Guiard pastel.  According to Fleischman, "the portrait of Robespierre published by Drouhin, which speedily became popular, was taken from this picture" (Fleischmann, Robespierre and the women he loved, p.91)

I can't find a this engraving, if it ever existed.

The oil by Pierre-Roch Vigneron (No.4) is sometimes also said to be a copy of the Labille-Guiard portrait, but Buffenoir is probably correct to doubt this identification.
For more details, see my post:

10. Pastel by J. Boze, shown at the Salon of 1791;said to have belonged to Albertine Marat, since lost

Buffenoir, AR vol.1(2), p.250.

Identified in the Dictionary of Pastellists with a pastel by Boze in the Musée Lambinet (left) More speculatively, with No.41.

For further details see :

11. Anonymous crayon drawing in three colours, of 1791(?), reproduced in A.R. 1/248

Buffenoir, AR vol.1 p. 253.  Plate 2 (Plate 1 of the AR version).

From Buffenoir's own collection, otherwise unknown (?) A bit of a fat Robespierre!

12. Anonymous pastel of 1791(?) belonging to C. Vellay

See: Buffenoir, AR vol. 1(2) p.253:  a "superb pastel" which shows Robespierre's "firm intelligence, courage and moral force".
Described as right profile, showing white powdered wig, lace jabot, large cravat, light coloured coat. 
?  Is there a plate of this one - I can't find it!

13. Medallion of 1791 by Chinard of Lyon..

Buffenoir, AR vol. 1(3), p.458-9; Plate 24.

Medallion in Buffenoir's collection. 23cm in diameter.  Signed by Joseph Chinard and dated 1791.

14.  Miniature by Pajou, 1791 (?1797) in the Musée Carnavalet 

 By Augustin Pajou, signed and dated "1797"
14.3 cm diameter.
Provenance unknown.

15. Tinted drawing, from M. George Duruy's collection.

Inscribed Croquis d' d'après nature à une séance de la Convention" and with the notes "Les yeux verts, le teint pâle, habit nankin rayé vert, gilet blanc rayé bleu, cravate blanche rayée rouge.   Commonlyattributed to Gérard, and supposed to be a preliminary sketch for No.16.  Aulard, reviewing Buffenoir (R.F. 60/157), points out that the inscription is not in Gérard's hand, nor in that of his mistress. (1/2 length, full face, spectacles on forehead.)

 Buffenoir, AR vol.1(2), p.254. Plate 3.

I am not sure if the original still exists.
The stripped coat and elaborate cravat suggests  a relationship to the famous Carnavalet portrait (No.5)? 


16. An oil painting by F. Gérard, which hung in the Duplays' salon, and was destroyed by fire in 1815 (Full length) 
Buffenoir, AR vol. 1(2) p.253-4.Buffenoir notes the existence of two engravings after Gérard, but these cannot be identified with the lost portrait as they are only busts.
The portrait, together with many of Robespierre's manuscripts, was burnt by Simon Duplay in 1815.


J. M. Thompson, "Portraits of Robespierre" Appendix to Robespierre, vol. 2, 1935, p.281-5

The references to Buffenoir by Thompson are a little confusing as there are two different versions of Buffenoir's text, a set of articles in Annales Révolutionnaires (1908-9) and a slightly later monograph.  Thompson refers mostly to the articles, but the numbers given for the plates must be to pages in the later version(?).

Hippolyte Buffenoir,  "Les portraits de Robespierre":
 Annales Révolutionnaires (Paris 1908) vol 1(2) p.244-64 (paintings);vol.1(3) p.457-466 (sculptures) vol.1(4) p.641-66  (engravings)
 Annales Révolutionnaires (Paris 1909) vol. 2(1) p. 55-69 (modern engravings);  vol.2(2) 220-242 (historical scenes)  vol.2 (3),377-394 (miniatures, curiosities)
All available on JStor; volume 1 available for free on Internet Archive:

A full set of Buffenoir's plates scanned from the monograph version has been reproduced, on Dreamwidth,     Plates 1-11     Plates  11-25     Plates 26-40     Plates   41-71
 [Unfortunately these plate numbers don't seem to correspond with Thompson's references either!]

See also:
David P. Jordan "Portraits of Robespierre" Appendix to The Revolutionary career of Maximilien Robespierre (1985)

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