Père Lachaise Cemetery, 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, Francia
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy (or de Roucy), also known as Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (29 January 1767 – 9 December 1824), was a French painter and pupil of Jacques-Louis David, who participated in the early Romantic movement by including elements of eroticism in his paintings. Girodet is remembered for his precise and clear style and for his paintings of members of the Napoleonic family. Girodet’s paintings, especially the dreamy Sleep of Endymion (1792), were recognized as icons of homosexual love. French novelists used his name to hint at a character’s sexual proclivity. Anecdotes were told about his private life: he had apparently been pestered by the actress Amélie-Julie Candeille, who saw him as the perfect husband for her declining years. At first Girodet pleaded impotence, to which she replied, ‘What does that matter at our age!’ Then he claimed to be a ‘bizarre and violent’ man who was in the habit of beating up his servants: ‘I am capable of every sort of excess!’ This convinced her that she should look elsewhere. (She eventually settled on a homosexual artist called Antoine-Hilaire-Henri Périé who used to run about Paris dressed as an Ancient Greek.)
Girodet was born at Montargis. He lost his parents in his early youth. The care of his inheritance and education fell to his guardian, M. Trioson, "médecin-de-mesdames", who later adopted him. Girodet took the surname Trioson in 1812. In school he first studied architecture and pursued a military career. He changed to the study of painting under a teacher named Luquin and then entered the school of Jacques-Louis David. At the age of 22 he successfully competed for the Prix de Rome with a painting of the Story of Joseph and his Brethren. From 1789 to 1793 he lived in Italy and while in Rome he painted his Hippocrate refusant les presents d'Artaxerxes and Endymion-dormant (now in the Louvre), a work which was praised at the Salon of 1793.
Back in France, Girodet painted many portraits, including some of members of the Bonaparte family. In 1806, in competition with the Sabines of David, he exhibited his Scène de déluge (Louvre), which was awarded the decennial prize. In 1808 he produced the Reddition de Vienne and Atala au tombeau, a work which won immense popularity, by its fortunate choice of subject – François-René de Chateaubriand's novel Atala, first published in 1801 – and its remarkable departure from the theatricality of Girodet's usual manner. He would return to his theatrical style in La Révolte du Caire (1810).
Girodet was a member of the Academy of Painting and of the Institut de France, a knight of the Order of Saint Michael, and officer of the Legion of Honour.
In his forties his powers began to fail, and his habit of working at night and other excesses weakened his constitution. In the Salon of 1812 he exhibited only a Tête de Vierge; in 1819 Pygmalion et Galatée showed a further decline of strength. In 1824, the year in which he produced his portraits of Cathelineau and Bonchamps, Girodet died on December 9 in Paris. At a sale of his effects after his death, some of his drawings realized enormous prices.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE