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LOUIS LEOPOLD ROBERT (1794-1835)

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 403 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LOUIS LEOPOLD ROBERT (1794-1835), French painter, was born at Chaux de Fonds (Neuchatel) in Switzerland on the 13th of May 1794, but left his native place with the engraver Girardet at the age of sixteen for Paris. He was on the eve of obtaining the grand prix for engraving when the events of 1815 blasted his hopes, for Neuchatel was restored to Prussia, and Robert was struck off the list of competitors as a foreigner. Whilst continuing his studies under Girardet he had never ceased to frequent the studio of David, and he now determined to become a painter, and only returned to his native country when his master himself was exiled. At Neuchatel he attracted the notice of Roullet de Mezerac, who enabled him by a timely loan to proceed to Rome. In depicting the customs and life of the people, of southern Italy especially, he showed peculiar feeling for the historical characteristics of their race. After executing many detached studies of Italian life Robert conceived the idea of painting four great works which' should represent at one and the same time the four seasons in Italy and the four leading races of its people. In the " Return from the Fete of the Madonna dell' Arco " (Louvre) he depicted the Neapolitans and the spring. This picture, exhibited at the Salon of 1827, achieved undoubted success and was bought for the Luxembourg by Charles X.; but the work which appeared in 1831—the" Summer Reapers arriving in the Pontine Marshes " (Louvre), which became the property of Louis Philippe—established the artist's reputation. Florence and her autumn vineyards should now have furnished him with his third subject. He attempted to begin it, but, unable to conquer his passion for Princess Charlotte Napoleon (then mourning the violent death of her husband, Robert's devoted friend), he threw up his work and went to Venice, where he began and carried through the fourth of the series, the " Fishers of the Adriatic." This work was not equal to the " Reapers." Worn by the vicissitudes of painful feeling, and bitterly discouraged, Robert committed suicide before his easel on the loth of March 1835, on the tenth anniversary of the melancholy suicide of a brother to whom he had been much attached. See Villot, Notice des tableaux du Louvre; C. Blanc, Hist. des peintres; Feuillet de Conches, Correspondance de L. L. Robert; Julius Meyer, Gesch. mod. fr. Malerei. ROBERT-FLEURY, JOSEPH NICOLAS (1797-1890), French painter, was born at Cologne. He was sent by his family to Paris, and after travelling in Italy returned to France and made his first appearance at the Salon in 1824; his reputation, however, was not established until three years later, when he exhibited " Tasso at the Convent of St Onophrius." Endowed with a vigorous original talent, and with a vivid imagination, especially for the tragic incidents of history, he soon rose to fame, and in 185o succeeded Granet as member of the Academie des Beaux-Arts. In 1855 he was appointed professor and in 1863 director of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and in the following year he went to Rome as director of the French Academy in that city. Among his chief works are: " A Reading at Mme. de Sevigne's," " Scene of St Bartholomew," " Henry IV. taken to the Louvre after his Assassination " (1836); " Triumphal Entry of Clovis at Tours " (1838), at the Versailles Museum; " Le Colloque de Poissy " (184o), at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris; " The Children of Louis XVI. in the Temple " (184o); " Marino Faliero "; " An Auto-da-fe," " Galileo before the Holy Office," at the Luxembourg Museum; " Christopher Columbus received by the Spanish Court " (1847), at the same gallery; " The Last Moments of Montaigne " (1853);' and " Charles V. in the Monastery of Yuste " (1857). He died in Paris in 189o. His son, TONY ROBERT-FLEURY (1837- ), French painter, was born in Paris, and studied under his father and under Delaroche and Leon Coignet. His first picture at the Salon, in 1866, was a large historical composition of the " Warsaw Massacres on April 8, 1861." In the following year his " Old Women in the Place Navone, Rome " was bought for the Luxembourg Museum, as was also the " Last Day of Corinth " in 1870. In 188o he painted a ceiling for the Luxembourg, representing " The Glorification of French Sculpture." Tony Robert-Fleury became president of the Societe des Artistes frangais in succession to Bouguereau. He acquired a great reputation for his historical compositions and portraits; and from his atelier have issued a great number of the best-known painters of our day.
End of Article: LOUIS LEOPOLD ROBERT (1794-1835)
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