Calvaryman on Horseback Victorian Oil Painting
Oil on Canvas
12 x 16
Signed (lower right) A. Neuville and dated 1880
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The son of a banker, Alphonse was born in Saint Omer, Normandy, on the last day of May, 1836. As a youngster, he yearned to be a soldier but his family insisted that he study law. Although he completed his law degree in 1857, he showed more interest in art and approached Adolphe Yvon and Hipployte Bellange about his idea but both discouraged him so he entered the studio of Francois-Eduard Picot where he started work with another pupil and future military artist, Berne-Bellecour. The great painter Delacroix also took the young painter under his wing.
In 1859, the artist showed his first military painting at the Salon. The Fifth Battalion of Chasseurs at the Gervais Battery, Malahoff for which he won a medal. A commission to paint Garibaldi taking Naples was received the following year and de Neuville went to the place to sketch first-hand. While there he witnessed the siege at Capou. He received a second-class medal for another painting of the Crimean War shortly after.
Throughout the 1860s he busied himself with various large canvases depicting events from the Crimean War and Italian War of 1859, but it was to the events of the war with Prussia in 1870-71 that De Neuville was to gain his reputation as a painter of the 'incident' rather than the event. At the age of 35, the artist found himself as an officer of auxiliary sappers near Paris, and participated in the battles at Le Bourget and Champigny. These experiences enabled him to embark on a series of remarkable paintings chronicling the suffering of the French soldiers in the war.
His premature death at the age of 49 in May 1885 shocked the art world but his numerous pictures were a lasting testament to his greatness and sensitiveness to the sufferings of the common soldier.
Calvaryman on Horse
Oil on canvas on board, 12 x 16, signed (lower left): De Neuville and dated 1880. A panting of a French cavalryman on his mount in a gold frame. Highly detailed canvas.
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