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Oil painting - The Wounded Traveller Halting
  • The Wounded Traveller Halting
    Lugardon, Jean-Léonard, born 1801 - died 1884
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The Wounded Traveller Halting

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Switzerland (painted)

  • Date:

    mid 19th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lugardon, Jean-Léonard, born 1801 - died 1884 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:

    1606-1869

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Jean-Léonard Lugardon (1801-1884) was born in Geneva to French parents. He first studied at the Geneva Art Society and later became a pupil of the Baron Gros and of Ingres in Paris. He continued his studies in Florence and stayed in Italy between 1825 and 1834. He became director of the school of illustration in Geneva until 1845, spent a year in Algeria and returned to Paris for several years. Illness forced him to rest almost entirely for the last 27 years of his life. He had a son, Albert (1827-1909), who was also a painter.

This painting is a fine example of Lugardon’s genre painting, one of the leading Romantic artists in Geneva. It shows two young beautiful people wearing Italian traditional costumes and set in an idyllic landscape overlooking a bay. The landscape is traditionally said to have been painted by the landscape painter A. Calame who was a close friend of Luagardon. Lugardon would therefore be only responsible for the figures. This type of paintings was extremely popular in the second half of the 19th century.

Physical description

A wounded traveller, in rustic Italian costume, leaning on his walking staff as a young woman in local costume bandages his injured foot.

Place of Origin

Switzerland (painted)

Date

mid 19th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Lugardon, Jean-Léonard, born 1801 - died 1884 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'Lugardon'
Signed by the artist on the rock to the right of the man's staff

Dimensions

Height: 67.5 cm approx., Width: 50.5 cm approx., :

Object history note

Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, listed in the 1868 post-mortem register of the contents of his villa in Lausanne (V&A R/F MA/1/T1181) as 'Oil on canvas. The wounded man halting. By J.L. Lugardon (The landscape by Calame). In frame. Signed. Swiss. Present century’; bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868.

Historical significance: Lugardon was one of the leading Romantic artists in Geneva together with his friends Alexandre Calame, François Diday et Joseph Hornung. This painting is a fine example of such genre scene characterised by a high degree of finish and idealised figures, which can be considered as the equivalent of stock portraits in literature. The Romantic movement traditionally favoured subjects drawing from the folk culture, the national and ethnic origins. The painting presents here a combination of the two: beautiful but humble young people, wearing traditional costumes from the surroundings of Rome, set in an idyllic landscape.
The costumes depicted here are close to the ones represented by the Roman artist Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781 - 1835) and are therefore Italian, not Swiss as previously believed.
This type of pictures was quite popular in the second half of the 19th century and quite similar in style to the Biedermeier imagery.
This painting was bequeathed by the Rev. Townshend who owned a large collection of 19th-century landscape and genre paintings. It is not unlikely that Townshend, who resided part of the year in Lausanne, acquired this painting directly from the artist.

Historical context note

The word Romanticism derived from the medieval term 'romance' and was first used by the German poets and critics August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel to label a wider cultural movement beginning with the late 18th and ending towards the mid 19th century. Romanticism started first in Western Europe as a literary and philosophical movement and only gradually involved the other arts, explicitly around 1800. Romantic artists were fascinated by nature they interpreted as a mirror of the mind. They investigated human nature and personality, the folk culture, the national and ethnic origins, the medieval era, the exotic, the remote, the mysterious and the occult. The interest in the exotic and the non-Western, illustrated in France by such a painter as Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), as well as the medieval revival, witnessed in England by Horace Walpole (1717-1797), are perhaps the most identifiable parts of Romanticism. It is really in the Post-Napoleonic period that this movement gained ascendancy. Its greatest proponents were among others Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) and François-René de Chateaubriant (1768-1848) in France, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) in England, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) and Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) in Germany. In the visual arts, it was largely played out by 1850, but in music it persists for another generation.

Descriptive line

Oil Painting, 'The Wounded Traveller Halting', Jean-Léonard Lugardon, Swiss school, mid 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900 , London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 68, cat. no. 149.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Man; Genre scene; Cactus; Bay; Woman; Travellers

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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