France • 1823−1889

Biography and information

In 1863, in the official Paris Salon Shine "The abduction of the nymph"and "The Birth Of Venus"Alexander Cabanela. The Emperor Napoleon III acquired several of his paintings, the position of the "Imperial painter" even more firmly established... Salon Rejected this year, in full accordance with its name put rejected by the official Paris Salon "Breakfast on the grass"Of Edouard Manet.

At the present time about Alexander Cabanel (FR. Alexandre Cabanel) are rarely mentioned, and perhaps with some disdain. Ah, the vulgar taste of the public, this glossy consumer goods... If you replace the name, similar phrases we say today, right? Who are the people for whom I write-sing-compose "the goods"? And why is the art which so asks the words "common place", often by contemporaries far more in demand than the creations of genius? However, the ability to adapt to the tastes of the public and to respond to them – also a talent.

The life story of Cabanela is a success story. Prosperous childhood in Montpellier, an academic education, then in Paris at the age of 17 admission to the School of fine arts (a course for François-Edouard Picot), the successful completion thereof and the receipt of a Large Roman prize. In the process the Roman internships formed the style of Alexander Cabanela, and he established himself in the passion of antique motifs. The final work that Cabanel returned to France, became "Death Of Moses". The year was 1852. At the Salon, the painting was loaded with enthusiasm and winning, artist – orders.

Alexander Cabanel became a kind of symbol of the Paris Salon. Confident professionalism, "making the audience beautifully", but not beyond the frame... Yes, actually, for any frame is not distracting. With the triumph of "Death of Moses" began the era of the "sweet" of the artistic life of the Second Empire. Of cabanel became particularly close artist Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. His art was a perfect fit into the desire of yard to enjoy bliss and luxury, voluptuous surrender to pleasure, to represent themselves are not alien to high matters and educated – hence the constant recourse to mythology, religious themes, and literary subjects: Cleopatra, Shulamith, Phaedra, Desdemona, Ophelia, Francesca da Rimini, Adam and eveand other. Smooth, entailing body, sensuality under the veil of antiquity, great (really great!) the depicted textures of luxurious fabrics, defiantly (too much!) graceful posture... As a portraitist, he was also extremely popular, and portraits was written so that senior customers were satisfied (1, 2, 3).

The list of awards of Alexander Cabanela adequately reflects his position in society. He was found and treated kindly in life. Medal at the world exhibition of 1855, the Legion of honor, later he becomes a great officer, and later commander of the main French awards. Member of the Academy of fine arts and member of the jury of the Paris Salon, the recognized king of salon painting...

"Silky skin and delicate hands of his portraits were a constant source of admiration for the ladies and irritation for artists"– wrote one critic. But films are being bought are not artists, as a rule. So fragrant in "the scent of violets and roses"in the words of another critic, deliberately graceful or fatal image Cabanela were in demand more than any of his contemporaries.

Engaged, Cabanel and teaching in the Academy, and the reviews about him as a teacher for the most part supportive. Of course, it is unlikely that he was sending his disciples into the shop of the Marshal to get acquainted with new trends, but teach the basics of academic approach could very well and then it all depended on the students. Among his pupils Fernand Kormon, Jules Bastien LepageHenri Gervais.

Name Cabanela often mentioned in the context of confrontation with Edouard Manet. For example, in 1863, was exhibited scandalous OlympiaManet . "Obscene" – the most lenient definition. "Yes, he's a prostitute wrote, damn it!"– whisper, were outraged critics and the public. Oh, these "modesty and chastity" of a secular society! Even if the skies angels depicted there, a kind of shameless, criticized Manet. Whether it is openly sensual and voluptuous, curvy goddess Venus (the goddess, not some girl like these innovators!), mannered reclining in the foam of the sea surrounded by at least krugooboroty and sweet chubby cherubs. That is the picturein the same year, presented at the Salon of Alexander Cabanel. She cited the absolute delight of the Emperor, who immediately purchased the "Venus" for personal collection.

The change of the political system in the position of court painter was not reflected. In the country, he was caressed and loved, no less. Those who had the money to order a picture, want to see elegant portraits and the "fatal beauties" will not go away.

It is difficult to talk about the evolution of the work of Alexander Cabanela, since it is not clear what exactly to say. Perhaps his path is as follows: within the academic traditions he had found his niche, and then throughout life successfully exploited and remained true to his principles. The advantages of his paintings: strong enough skill and ability to give the audience what they want, "make them beautiful" in the areas of portraiture, mythological and religious paintings and illustrations on famous literary stories. The result for the entire career Cabanela became graceful (often to excess) characters, luxury and aestheticism, careful study of details "beautiful life", a theatrical effect and the affectations of the postures of the depicted characters.

However, actively opposing the Impressionists, Cabanel, thoroughly laid a hand to ensure not to pass them to the official Salon, old age is increasingly recognized that it is not quite so as seen from the Cabin. In 1881, he has not led, and has calmed persecutors mane: "Gentlemen, among us there, perhaps four, who could write the head like this"he said about "Portrait of M. Pertuiset, the lion-killer".

Author: Alain Esaulova