Support: Wove paper
Gift of John Bonebrake 2009.519
Catalogue raisonné: Fonds Français vol. IV, p. 313, no. 40; de La Combe p. 220 no. 74; Béraldi vol. IV, p. 117, no. 74
Lithography was invented in 1798 by the German Aloys Senefelder. Although the technique was introduced in France in 1801, it was predominantly used for commercial ventures until 1815 when lithographic workshops—like that of François Delpech, who printed The French Soldier—were established in Paris. In 1814 Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated the throne and was banished to the island of Elba before being permanently exiled on Saint Helena. With the ensuing void in leadership, an idealized version of the Napoleonic era developed and Charlet was one of many artists who used art to glorify the French military. The French soldier depicted here, victorious against the prone Englishman, reloads his rifle and, although wounded, courageously continues to fight. The couplet from Horace beneath the scene comments that nothing can shatter the steadfastness of an honorable man.
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