Portraits of Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gobel (1727-1794), Bishop of Paris in 1792-93, and Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette (1763-1794), Procurator of the Commune in 1792, sketched on the way to the guillotine, April 12, 1794.

Baron Dominique Vivant Denon French

Not on view


Drawing was only one of Denon’s many pursuits; he was also a collector, a printmaker, a diplomat, and an arts administrator. Among other achievements, he accompanied and documented Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign and was the first director of the museum known today as the Louvre.

Denon’s sketches reflect his sensitivity to politics as well as his urge to document. The three mounted together here were apparently made during, or soon after, meetings of the National Convention, a new governing body that formally abolished the monarchy, among other acts. All of the men depicted were directly or indirectly associated with the period of violent unrest during the Revolution known as the Reign of Terror and ultimately fell victim to the guillotine themselves.

Portraits of Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gobel (1727-1794), Bishop of Paris in 1792-93, and Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette (1763-1794), Procurator of the Commune in 1792, sketched on the way to the guillotine, April 12, 1794., Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (French, Givry 1747–1825 Paris), Black chalk

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