Paul Jacques Baudry - Encyclopedia

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PAUL JACQUES Aime BAUDRY (1828-1886), French painter, was born at La Roche-sur-Yonne (Vendee). He studied under Drolling, a sound but second-rate artist, and carried off the Prix de Rome in 1850 by his picture of "Zenobia found on the banks of the Araxes." His talent from the first revealed itself as strictly academical, full of elegance and grace, but somewhat lacking originality. In the course of his residence in Italy Baudry derived strong inspiration from Italian art with the mannerism of Coreggio, as was very evident in the two works he exhibited in the Salon of 1857, which were purchased for the Luxembourg: "The Martyrdom of a Vestal Virgin" and "The Child." His "Leda," "St John the Baptist," and a "Portrait of Beule," exhibited at the same time, took a first prize that year. Throughout this early period Baudry commonly selected mythological or fanciful subjects, one of the most noteworthy being "The Pearl and the Wave." Once only did he attempt an historical picture, "Charlotte Corday after the murder of Marat" (1861), and returned by preference to the former class of subjects or to painting portraits of illustrious men of his day - Guizot, Charles Gamier, Edmond About. The works that crowned Baudry's reputation were his mural decorations, which show much imagination and a high artistic gift for colour, as may be seen in the frescoes in the Paris Cour de Cassation, at the chateau of Chantilly, and some private residences - the hotel Fould and hotel Paiva - but, above all, in the decorations of the foyer of the Paris opera house. These, more than thirty paintings in all, and among them compositions figurative of dancing and music, occupied the painter for ten years. Baudry died in Paris in 1886. He was a member of the Institut de France, succeeding Jean Victor Schnetz. Two of his colleagues, Dubois and Marius Jean Mercie, co-operating. with his brother, Baudry the architect, erected a monument to him in Paris (1890). The statue of Baudry at La Roche-surYonne (1897) is by Gerome.

See H. Delaborde, Notice sur la vie et les ouvrages de Baudry (1886); Ch. Ephrussi, Baudry, sa vie et son oeuvre (1887). (H. FR.)

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