Horace VERNET (1789-1863).
Cossack on his horse.
Graphite on paper, heightened with wash.
Good condition, slightly sunken.
In a gilded wooden frame decorated with palm leaves and swans from the Restauration period.
H. 21 x L. 17 cm.
Our drawing is to be included in a cycle of studies on the spot that the artist carried out during his trip to Russia, from June 1842 to the summer of 1843, when he was unofficially commissioned by King Louis-Philippe to probe the dispositions of Tsar Nicholas I and his court concerning France. The same year, the publication of the work "Russia in 1839" by Baron de Custines, an anti-Russian rant, had somewhat offended the Russian elites vis-à-vis French society.
Horace's drawings draw on the works of his father Carle (1758-1836), a horse enthusiast, who was particularly keen to illustrate the occupying Russian troops, who roamed Paris in 1815, in particular the regiment of Cossacks.
Stylistically, this sheet can be compared to the drawings of Horace which are contained in the two albums that the Louvre owns (inv. RF 29131 to 29176).
In the same vein, treated quickly with graphite, we can cite the “Standing Soldier, seen in profile” (sale Christie's Paris, March 29, 2012, lot 183).
“Let me tell you about the country I am traveling through! From Moscow so far, I have only seen large plains that are flat and cut off at intervals by ravines, rivers or streams, the Volga, the Dnieper, etc. A crowd of tumuli tell the passer-by: here we fought. Winners and vanquished sleep together; the grass grows at the same time on the body of the Tartarus, the Pole, the Swede and the Cossack. "
Private letters from Mr. Horace Vernet (...) during his trip to Russia. Paris, 1856.