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Unknown Artist (after Louis Francois Lejeune)
The Battle of Moscow: Général Lariboisière at the Death of His Son Bonaventure Ferdinand The Battle of Moscow: Général Lariboisière at the Death of His Son Bonaventure Ferdinand
around 1830 around 1830

This small and loosely executed battle scene depicts the Battle of Moscow, between Russia and Napoleon’s Grande Armée, on 6 September 1812. The scene is derived from the most famous painting of the battle, by Louis François Lejeune, executed in 1822, presented at the Salon of 1824 and now hanging in Versailles. The present painting shows a dramatic human exchange placed prominently in the centre foreground. There, the Général Jean Ambroise Baston de Lariboisière (1759–1812) attends to his son Bonaventure Ferdinand (1791–1812) as he succumbs to his wounds. Far from making a copy of Lejeune’s famous original, the artist here imposed an entirely new pictorial language on the scene, one that can even be interpreted as a Romantic criticism of Lejeune’s approach. The broad painterly handing is far removed from the crisp precision, smooth finish and bright decorative colour scheme of Lejeune’s thoroughly academic style. The striking clarity of Lejeune’s sweeping presentation of the battle’s complex unfolding is replaced by an unnerving obscurity that underscores the focus on the high human drama that the artist selected out of the grand tableau of the battle. At the same time, Lejeune’s sinuous poses and exaggerated expressions are replaced by a stolid directness that makes them seem foppish by comparison. The son’s strained features meet the slackened profile visage of the father, their bond signalled by a handshake of farewell.

 
Unknown Artist (after Louis Francois Lejeune)
Strasbourg, France 1775-Touluse, France 1848 Strasbourg, France 1775-Touluse, France 1848
The Battle of Moscow: Général Lariboisière at the Death of His Son Bonaventure Ferdinand The Battle of Moscow: Général Lariboisière at the Death of His Son Bonaventure Ferdinand
around 1830 around 1830
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
height / width: 39.20 x 32.70 cm; 15.43 x 12.87 in.
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1982 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1982
25-013

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