Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Born Today April 4: Pierre-Paul Prud'hon

A Self Portrait 


French painter Pierre-Paul Prud'hon was born on this date in Cluny, France.  He is most famous for his portraits, though he did paint landscapes and allegorical mythological subjects as well.  As a young man he received formal artistic training in several French provinces; and at the age of 26, he left for Italy to further his education.  Upon his return to Paris, he took numerous jobs painting the mansions of the elite there.  In his framed paintings, his style has been difficult to pin down, being influenced by at least two major styles of the time.  He counted a great number of his fellow artists amongst his admirers.  He is perhaps best known for painting for two of Napoleon's wives; with his portrait of Josephine being famous the world over.  There are not many entries her for artists that lived before the invention of motion pictures, because just not that many silent films used actual art in them; however one short film dating from 1900 does feature his work.  Phrosine and Meledore was an American Mutoscope & Biograph production; it was part of their Living Pictures series that did feature famous works of art. Prud'hon died either on Valentine's Day or two days later on the 16th in 1823 at the age of 64.  He is buried in the huge Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

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