The Print Collector
By Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier


The Print Collector
By Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891)
In the Wallace Collection, London

Meissonier painted with such extreme care that the minuteness of many of his pictures detracts in no measure from their effectiveness, but rather adds to it. The spectator cannot fail to be impressed with the masterly craftsmanship which they display, while enjoying their rich colouring and their wealth of detail. Meissonier was a most acute observer and a stickler for accuracy. It was said of him that he invented photography before photography was invented, and this is largely true, inasmuch as his pictures have a photographic realism due to the careful studies which he made, the pains he took in execution, and his own great knowledge of everything pertaining to his art and the subjects which he chose to portray.

From the critical standpoint, his pictures generally lack vibrating life and softness of touch. Their microscopic exactitude results in a certain hardness which, added to their arid colouring, leaves the spectator in a condition of amazement rather than of emotion. They please more because of their sheer ability and mastery of detail than as works of art which stir the mind to great thoughts. They are miracles of patience and skill, but they lack the supreme touch of inspiration which is the mark of true genius. But, all said and done, they give pleasure, which recurs with every view of them, and that, after all, is a test of greatness.

"The Print Collector" is an important example of the style of painting which made Meissonier one of the most prominent and best-paid painters of his time.

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
(Firefox users must click again on the large photo to see the very large image.)




Online "Name the Painting"









Biography of Meissonier
at Wikipedia

Meissonier
links at Art Cyclopedia

Paintings by Meissonier
CGFA

Meissonier Self-Portrait

Pronunciation
at Info Please

Masterpieces of Messonier
Online book at Open Library.org

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