Vernet, Horace (1789-1863) - 1834 Arab Chieftains in Council (Musee Conde, Chantilly)
Émile-Jean-Horace Vernet, known as Horace Vernet, was son of Antoine-Charles-Horace Vernet and grandson of Claude-Joseph Vernet, one of the leading French landscape painters of his period. He was one of the most prolific of French military painters, specializing in scenes of the Napoleonic era. He remained an ardent Bonapartist, and his chief work was the huge Gallery of Battles at Versailles, painted for Louis Philippe. A portrait of Napoleon and four battlepieces by him are in the National Gallery, London. He also did animal and Oriental subjects. From 1828 to 1835 he was Director of the French Academy in Rome.
Vernet developed a disdain for the high-minded seriousness of academic French art influenced by Classicism, and decided to paint subjects taken mostly from contemporary culture. Therefore, he began depicting the French soldier in a more familiar, vernacular manner rather than in an idealized fashion of David. Some of his paintings that represent French soldiers in a more direct, less idealizing style, include Dog of the Regiment, Trumpeter's Horse, and Death of Poniatowski. He gained recognition during the Bourbon Restoration for a series of battle paintings commissioned by the duc d'Orleans. Critics marveled at the incredible speed with which he painted. Many of his paintings made during this early phase of his career were considered to combine anecdotal accuracy with a charged romantic landscape. Examples of paintings in this style include the Battle of Valmy, the Battle of Jemappes, and the Battle of Montmirail.