“The Art Requisitions by the French under Napoléon and the Detachment of Frescoes in Rome, with an Emphasis on Raphael,” La restauration des oeuvres d’art en Europe entre 1789 et 1815: pratiques, transferts, enjeux, in: CeROArt—Conserva

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“The Art Requisitions by the French under Napoléon and the Detachment of Frescoes in Rome, with an Emphasis on Raphael,” La restauration des oeuvres d’art en Europe entre 1789 et 1815: pratiques, transferts, enjeux, in: CeROArt—Conservation,

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  CeROArt (2012)La restauration des oeuvres d'art en Europe entre 1789 et 1815: pratiques, transferts,enjeux ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Cathleen Hoeniger The Art Requisitions by the Frenchunder Napoléon and the Detachmentof Frescoes in Rome, with an Emphasison Raphael ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Avertissement Le contenu de ce site relève de la législation française sur la propriété intellectuelle et est la propriété exclusive del'éditeur.Les œuvres figurant sur ce site peuvent être consultées et reproduites sur un support papier ou numérique sousréserve qu'elles soient strictement réservées à un usage soit personnel, soit scientifique ou pédagogique excluanttoute exploitation commerciale. La reproduction devra obligatoirement mentionner l'éditeur, le nom de la revue,l'auteur et la référence du document. Toute autre reproduction est interdite sauf accord préalable de l'éditeur, en dehors des cas prévus par la législationen vigueur en France.Revues.org est un portail de revues en sciences humaines et sociales développé par le Cléo, Centre pour l'éditionélectronique ouverte (CNRS, EHESS, UP, UAPV). ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Référence électroniqueCathleen Hoeniger, « The Art Requisitions by the French under Napoléon and the Detachment of Frescoes in Rome,with an Emphasis on Raphael », CeROArt   [En ligne], | 2012, mis en ligne le 10 avril 2012, consulté le 21 janvier2013. URL : http://ceroart.revues.org/2367Éditeur : CeROArt asblhttp://ceroart.revues.orghttp://www.revues.orgDocument accessible en ligne sur :http://ceroart.revues.org/2367Document généré automatiquement le 21 janvier 2013.© Tous droits réservés  The Art Requisitions by the French under Napoléon and the Detachment of Frescoes in Rome, (...)2 CeROArt | 2012 Cathleen Hoeniger The Art Requisitions by the French underNapoléon and the Detachment of Frescoesin Rome, with an Emphasis on Raphael 1 During the turbulent years of the French Wars on the continent beginning in 1794, and theFrench Occupation of large parts of the Italian peninsula under Napoléon from 1798-1814,innumerable works of art and culture were taken from captive cities to embellish the museumsof Paris. Many panel and canvas paintings by Raphael were among the trophies of war.Although they were particularly anxious to acquire works by Raphael, the French were partialto several other Italian painters, especially Correggio, Titian, Veronese, the Caracci, andDomenichino. Fig. 1 The Departure of the Third Convoy of Art Works for France, 1797 Engraving, attrib. Joseph-Charles Marin and Jean Jérôme Baugean© The Trustees of the British Museum 2 A number of scholars have considered how the established taste for Raphael led the French tosearch out paintings not only by Raphael, but also by his teachers and close followers 1 . Theirardent pursuit of Raphael, who had been the favourite of the old regime with their royal tasteand academic values, might seem surprising in the midst of the overtly anti-aristocratic andanti-clerical politics characterizing the years following the French Revolution. Yet the statusaccorded to Raphael’s paintings meant they were among the greatest treasures of Italy, andtheir monetary value was virtually without parallel for modern works of art. The attributes of high culture had been securely attached to the art of Raphael since as early as 1510, whenthe artist gained what were among the most important European artistic commissions of thecentury, from Pope Julius II and his circle in Rome. Following his premature death in 1520,Raphael’s reputation arguably rose still higher, when his painting style became establishedas the best among the moderns in the academies of art and the emerging critical literature 2 .His art was set up on a pinnacle to be copied and emulated because of the characteristicsidentified in his “maniera”: the style of his most lauded paintings in Rome was described  The Art Requisitions by the French under Napoléon and the Detachment of Frescoes in Rome, (...)3 CeROArt | 2012 as classically-inspired in the most knowledgeable sense, and as a harmonious synthesis of avariety of excellent models. Because Raphael had achieved a fame of cult proportions, hisworks were not primarily exemplars of the taste of the privileged few, but rather they weremarvels beyond compare. The highly-educated artists and scientists, who were appointed bythe French government to facilitate the requisitions of art in Italy, naturally were drawn toselect the most famous treasures first. 3 The fate of the sixteen paintings by Raphael that were taken to Paris is a subject thathas been examined to a considerable extent in the literature. Of particular importance forthis essay is the scientific and documentary research published by Gilberte Émile-Mâle onRaphael’s Roman altarpieces, the  Madonna di Foligno  and the Transfiguration 3 . Detailedexaminations of the condition of these very large paintings were performed on-site in Italy bythe French commissioners, and again when the paintings were unpacked at the Louvre underthe supervision of the curator, Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun 4 . The evidence of how expertsdeliberated at length over restoration approaches demonstrates how much care was taken inParis, and how hesitant many were to embark upon the difficult and potentially dangerousmethod of transferring the paint layers to new supports. As is well known, the paint layers of the  Madonna di Foligno were transferred from the srcinal wood to a new canvas support,prepared with a new ground layer in 1800-01 5 . However, the Transfiguration,  which waspainted on cherry wood, remained on its srcinal panel.  The Art Requisitions by the French under Napoléon and the Detachment of Frescoes in Rome, (...)4 CeROArt | 2012 Fig. 2 Raphael, Madonna di Foligno , 1511, Pinacoteca, Vatican Engraving from “Galerie du Musée Napoléon” c. 1804-15© The Trustees of the British Museum  The Art Requisitions by the French under Napoléon and the Detachment of Frescoes in Rome, (...)5 CeROArt | 2012 Fig. 3 Raphael, Transfiguration , 1518-20, Pinacoteca, Vatican Photo. Cathleen Hoeniger 4 Although the practice of transfer at the Louvre in the years before and after the FrenchRevolution has attracted considerable interest among conservators and art historians, theconcurrent enthusiasm for the detachment of wall paintings has received little attention.Indeed, it is rare to find mention in the scholarly literature that the French, at the same timeas transfers were being carried out in Paris, became avidly interested in the detachment of murals in Italy. In the process of accumulating treasures from the Italian peninsula, the deputiesworking for Napoléon hoped to detach and render portable many wall paintings. In fact, thegoal was expressed of removing whole walls with frescoes by Raphael in the Vatican Palace! 6
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