Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3).

Unquestionably the worst in the collection is the consular medal, which, on that account, deserves description; it is, in size, about a half crown piece, on the exergue, over a small head of Bonaparte, is inscribed Bonaparte premier consul; beneath it, Cambaceres second consul, le Brun troisieme consul de la republique Francaise; on the reverse, Le peuple Francais a defenseurs, cette premiere pierre de la colonne nationale, posee par Lucien Bonaparte, ministre de l’interieur, 25 Messidore, An 8, 14 Juillet, 1800.—­One other medal only appears with the name of Lucien Bonaparte; it is that struck in honor of Marshal Turenne, upon the Translation du corps de Turenne au Temple de Mars par les ordres du premier Consul Bonaparte; and is of a large size, bearing the head of Turenne, with, beneath it, Sa gloire appartient au peuple Francais.  Several are in honor of General Desaix, whose memory Napoleon held in great esteem.  Those on his marriage with Marie Louise bear her head beside his own; and a small one on that occasion has for its reverse, a Cupid carrying with difficulty a thunderbolt.  Those on the birth of their child bear the same heads on the exergue, with the head of an infant, on the reverse, inscribed, Napoleon Francois Joseph Charles, Rio de Rome, XX.  Mars M.DCCCXI.—­Ireland.


When Napoleon had decided that a stupendous fountain should occupy the centre of the area where the celebrated state prison of the Bastille stood, the several artists, employed by the government, were ordered to prepare designs for the undertaking, and numerous drawings were in consequence sent in for the emperor’s inspection.  On the day appointed, he proceeded to examine these specimens, not one of which, however, proved at all commensurate with the vast idea he had in contemplation; wherefore, after pacing the chamber a few minutes, Napoleon suddenly halted, exclaiming:  “Plant me a colossal elephant there, and let the water spout from his extended trunk!” All the artists stood astonished at this bold idea, the propriety and grandeur of which immediately flashed conviction upon their minds, and the only wonder of each was, that no such thought should have presented itself to his own imagination:  the simple fact is, there was but one Napoleon present!—­Communicated to Ireland by David.

This fountain was modeled in Plaster of Paris on the spot.  It is seventy-two feet in height; the jet d’eau is through the nostrils of his trunk; the reservoir in the tower on his back; and one of his legs contains the staircase for ascending to the large room in the inside of his belly.  The elephant was to have been executed in bronze, with tusks of silver, surrounded by lions of bronze, which were to spout water from one cistern to another.


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Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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