Saturday, 29 July 2017

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.


  1. 41. looks to me like a less artistically-competent version of the oil portrait in 47.

  2. Dunno - I don't feel 47 is a particularly good picture; the only reproductions of 41 are from the illustration in Buffenoir.

  3. The Versailles version of 47, I meant (formerly Cormenin's). The others are inferior copies. The expressiveness of the eyes is very good. (Leuwers uses it as the cover of his biography.)

  4. I also think you're right about 42 being the 'grand trait' by Fouquet on which 19 is based. It's common for the image to be flipped L to R because of the engraving process, but the detail of the costume is the same, and the meticulous realism (even the slight pockmarks) is suggestive of the physionotrace method. It's also very similar to some other of the Fouquet/Chrétien physionotraces in treatment. Their studio was quite handy for Max's lodgings, too.

    1. Further: the pink-tinted paper and dimensions are compatible with their practice for grands traits. The signature has perhaps been lost by trimming: I've seen a signed Fouquet grand trait on line where the signature is behind the sitter's head.

  5. Re: the 'Standing Deputy' picture and the Cormenin/Versailles: I've posted comparison here (with Thevenin detail also):

  6. 40. also looks to me like a physionotrace, but not of Max. The hair and nose are wrong, and the face seems to me more like a sickly youth (younger than him) of higher social status.

  7. The written description of 37 sounds like the portrait given by Clémenceau, which looks to me as if it's been copied from a reversed b/w engraving of the stripey portrait.

  8. 36. is now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Arras. I saw it the other week. It's very small and a bit better than it looks in Buffenoir's photo, but I think it's probably copied from an engraving and may be 19C (though the gallery has it dated as 1790s).

  9. 46. is better in colour, but am doubtful about the eyebrows and blue eyes. The nose is right.

  10. 41. is still in the BNF. It's in black pencil, looks to me like a preparatory drawing for engraving/printing – hence may have been in the Marats' hands for publication?


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