Edited By James Kearns and Alister Mill
Delphine Gay and the Paris Salon
François-Joseph Heim’s well-known picture of the Salon of 1824 represents King Charles X distributing awards at the end of the exhibition (Figure 5). Flanked by royal officials, prominent artists and other public figures, the monarch confers the Order of Saint Michel on the sculptor Pierre Cartellier.1 Surrounding the assembled group are works from the Salon, including many with connections to the king and the history of royalty in France. Above the head of Charles X are François Gérard’s Philip V (Chambord, château) and Ingres’s Vow of Louis XIII (1824; Montauban, cathédrale Notre-Dame); on the left of the image is Jean-Pierre Cortot’s statue of Charles X; on the right is Horace Vernet’s equestrian portrait of the duc d’Angoulême (Versailles, musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon), the heir to the throne.2 With its detailed portraits and reproductions of exhibited works, Heim’s picture uses the visual rhetoric equivalent to an eyewitness account. Nevertheless it is carefully composed and deeply political. The work celebrates Charles X’s commitment to the arts, connects him to an illustrious royal past, and asserts his authority in the present. The crowd in the picture appears to accept the king’s authority and serves as a representation of a contented royalist public. ← 73 | 74 →
Figure 5: Jean-Pierre-Marie Jazet, after François-Joseph Heim, Salon de 1824. Sa Majesté Charles X distribue des récompenses aux artistes, aquatint, 1830. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des...
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