Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Meissonier, Jean-Louis-Ernest


Born Feb. 21,1815, in Lyon; died Jan. 31, 1891, in Paris. French painter.

Meissonier studied in Paris with L. Cogniet. He became famous for his small historical genre paintings, most of which were inspired by 17th- and 18th-century France, as well as for his battle scenes (The Emperor at Solferino, 1863, the Louvre, Paris; and Friedland, 1807, 1875, the Metropolitan Museum, New York). Although conceptually they lack depth and reproduce primarily external appearances, Meissonier’s paintings are attractive for their intriguing subjects, painstaking re-creation of historical tableaux, and attention to detail. One of his few works on a contemporary theme, Barricade (1848, the Louvre), is devoted to the events of June 1848. Under the Second Empire (1852–70), Meissonier was Napoleon Ill’s favorite artist and the chief court authority on art.


Bulgakov, F. Meison’e i egoproizvedeniia. St. Petersburg, 1907 [1908 on the cover].
Bénédite, L. Meissonier. Paris [1911].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.