|St. Denis Preaching in Gaul, 1767, Saint-Roch, Paris, Joseph-Marie Vien
|Vien seems to have been a rather brash young artist, headstrong, talented, and
not disposed to display any great degree of modesty as to his abilities.
|Daedalus and Icarus, ca. 1746,
Joseph Marie Vien
|The Centurion Kneeling at the Feet of Christ, 1752, Joseph Marie Vien
|Two Women Bathing, 1762,
|Vien was really not much of a portrait artist, but his reputation and standing with the French Academy were such that he was sought out by those "on the way up" to polish their images.
|Coronation of Louis XV, 1763 Joseph-Marie Vien. This is the type of painting
which can get an artist in trouble in the event of a revolution.
With the coming of the French Revolution, the 1790s were difficult for Vien, as was the case with many Academic artists during this time. If they enjoyed royal patronage at, (and a great many did, including Vien) they were immediately suspect as hated royalists, prone to "losing their heads" if they weren't careful. Vien managed to keep his, but his fortunes were wrecked by the political turmoil which ensued. However, undaunted, Vien went back to painting and, at the age of eighty (1796), managed to carry off the top prize in an open government competition. Napoleon Bonaparte acknowledged his merit by making him a senator. Such was the high regard he garnered with the new régime that, when Vien died in 1809 at the age of ninety-three, he became the only artist to ever be interred in a crypt at the Paris Pantheon.
|Sweet Melancholy, 1756, Joseph-Marie Vien
|Portrait of the Architect Michel Barthelemy Hazon,
Joseph-Marie Vien--the type of work that make
art historians smile...then burst out laughing.