The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 5, 2016

July 5, 1761

The Getty museum has this to say about Louis-Léopold Boilly (July 5, 1761 to January 6, 1845): he was the

...son of a wood-sculptor...[and] came from a modest background. As a teenager, he studied painting in the provinces, moving to Paris in 1785 only after ascertaining the marketability of his genre scenes. He established himself as a painter of slightly naughty images, which were especially popular with patrons who enjoyed the mischievous side of life. In 1794, an erotic painting elicited accusations of obscenity--an offense that carried the threat of prison and harsh penalties. A keen observer of human behavior, Boilly turned his attention to more public scenes, depicting the social customs of Parisians at the Salon, on the promenade, at the billiard table. He meticulously recorded facial details and gestures, and his depictions of costumes and textiles are fascinating as a chronicle of fashion. Boilly's paintings and drawings, often tinged with humor, showcase the artist's witty interpretation of urban life.

Regarding the reaction to Boilly's "mischievous side," and accusations demonstrating

a strain of moral purity, so typical of a certain type of revolutionary, there is more information in his French wikipedia article (translated by Google):

He exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1791 and became known for both his portraits and paintings in trompe l'oeil for his genre scenes themes gallant saucy. In 1794 he was denounced by the painter Jean-Baptiste Wicar revolutionary Puritan and Republican Society of Arts threatening to sue him for obscenity by the Committee of Public hello. In his defense, he invites them to come Committee officials in his studio and showed them a series of paintings on patriotic subjects, including a Triumph of Marat performed at the contest of the year II organized by the revolutionary government...

Here is a Boilly showing his charming talent:

Louis-Léopold Boilly's portrait of  "Gabrielle Arnault as a child", (1815) is on the cover of Cats in the Louvre by Frederic Vitoux.

I believe it is in this 2008 book that Boilly's significance is stated thusly:

Louis-Léopold Boilly .... was a ... gifted creator of popular portrait paintings... he also produced a vast number of genre paintings vividly documenting French middle-class social life. His life and work spanned the eras of monarchical France, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Empire, the Bourbon Restoration and the July Monarchy

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