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

links at Art Cyclopedia

at Info Please

Famous Paintings in this Series

M. Bompard

A Prayer to the Madonna


The Madonna and Child

Sir Edward Coley

King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid

Sir Edward Coley

The Mill

Jean Charles Cazin


John Constable

Boat-Building Near
Flatford Mill

John Crome

On the Skirts of the Forest

Pascal Adolphe Jean

The Blessed Bread

Theophile Emanuel Duverger


C.W. Furse

Diana of the Uplands

W.H. Gore


Peter Graham

A Rainy Day

Jean Baptiste Greuze

The Listening Girl

Sir James Guthrie

A Highland Funeral

Frans Hals

A Man With a Glove
In His Hand

Hans Holbein the Younger

The Ambassadors

Henry Holiday

Dante and Beatrice

Sir Edwin Landseer


Sir Edwin Landseer

A Naughty Child

H.H. La Thangue

Mowing Bracken

Sir Thomas Lawrence

Caroline of Brunswick,
Queen of George IV.

G.D. Leslie

Sun and Moon Flowers

J. Seymour Lucas


Jean Louis Ernest

The Print Collector

Jean Francois Millet

The Angelus

Jean Francois Millet

Going to Work

Sir William Quiller

The Farmer's Daughter

Ralph Peacock



His Own Portrait

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Infant Samuel

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Strawberry Girl

George Romney

The Parson's Daughter

W. Dendy Sadler

A Good Story

W. Dendy Sadler


William Small

The Last Match

J.M. Swan

On the Alert,
Lioness and Cubs

J.M.W. Turner

Peace: Burial at Sea of the
Body of Sir David Wilkie

J.M.W. Turner

Rain Steam and Speed
The Great Western Railway


Portrait of a Spanish Lady
"La Femme a L'Eventail"

Frederick Walker

The Vagrants

George Frederick Watts


James McNeill Whistler

My Mother

Anders Zorn

A Fisherman

Index Page
Famous Paintings