French artist Jacques-Louis David (August 30, 1748 – December 29, 1825) died on this day at age 77 in Brussels, Belgium. Considered the preeminent painter of his time and best known for his Neoclassical style, he was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1774; was elected to the Académie Royale in 1784; was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 1803; promoted to an Officier in 1808, and in 1815, he was promoted to a Commandant (now Commandeur) de la Légion d’honneur.
The artist was obsessed with the soldier-emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and created several memorable and extremely flattering artworks (many are in The Louvre, along with David’s self-portrait seen here at age 46). David’s painting of Napoloen’s coronation where he set up a large canvas (33 ft wide by a little over 20 ft tall) captured a significant moment in history. Pope Pius VII who would traditionally preside over such a momentous occasion was only a figurehead. In fact, Napoleon took the gold laurel leaves from the Pope and crowned himself, as well as his wife, Josephine as Empress. David did such an impressive job with the vast ceremonial painting that Napoleon awarded the artist with the title First Painter to the Emperor.
(October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900)
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde died this day November 30, 1900 at age 46 in Paris, France. The tomb of this brilliant essayist, eminent playwright, poet and society wit in Père Lachaise Cemetery was designed by American sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. Throughout the 1990s, the tomb became covered in lipstick kisses that were slowly destroying the porous limestone with each cleaning. The French and Irish governments came together and created a fund to restore the tomb which is now behind a protective Plexiglas casing
On November 30, 1900 at two o’clock in the afternoon Oscar Wilde died of an infection to his inner ear with the added complication of cerebral meningitis (the results of an injury sustained while serving a two year sentence in Reading prison for his legendary homosexual affair). He died in a rented room which had been his home since 1898, in the Hotel d’Alsace, 13 Rue des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Many thanks to Genie Davis for this gracious review in Art and Cake. https://artandcakela.com/
The City of Immortals: Carolyn Campbell
Los Angeles-based artist and writer Carolyn Campbell is paying tribute to the City of Immortals, the massive and visually astonishing Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Launched on November 2nd in time for All Souls Day, Campbell’s project is two-fold: an extensive, beautifully rendered online tribute to the cemetery, and a detailed, print map that features three tours including the resting places of the most celebrated spirits in the park. Both the writing and photography are hers.
No time seems more fitting to launch an inaugural blog about the most famous Necropolis in the world than on All Souls Day, November 2.
Autumn marks a significant transformation in nature that echoes a similar transition occurring in the cemetery. The green, red, yellow and orange foliage from thousands of trees in Père Lachaise, (maple, acacia, beech, ash lemon and chestnut), signals the end of a growth period and a new season of hibernation and sleep. (more…)