Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge Monthly Review – Achille-Etna Michallon

Inspired by and written for Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge Monthly Review – thank you Sue and GC

Warning: The video clip contains artistic nudity

Thank you, GC and Sue, for running the review challenge again. No surprise I am going with the world of art and another of my favourite artists – this time a French man and a journey back in time to the turn of the 19th century – Achille-Etna Michallon. It was not a hard task to choose him, as today is the 200th anniversary of his death.

Achille-Etna Michallon

Achille-Etna Michallon 1796 – 1822

Michallon was a prodigiously talented artist who tragically died at the very young age of 25. He was the son of a sculptor and studied under Jacques-Louis David and Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes. In 1817, he won the Prix de Rome for landscape painting. He studied in Italy for two years but died of pneumonia before he could develop what he had learned.

Éruption du Vésuve, la nuit by Achille-Etna Michallon 1822. Oil on paper mounted on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France

After the death of both his parents, Michallon was raised by his Uncle, the sculptor Guillaume Francin. Michallon drew from life from an early age and studied with Pierre Henri de Valenciennes. Jacques-Louis David, and Jean-Victor Bertin. He began exhibiting in 1812. In 1814 he travelled to Vichy, and in 1815 drew the fortifications erected around Paris

I first encountered Michallon as a teenager on a school trip to Paris and we visited the Louvre. My classmates were all rushing to see Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” but my eye became enraptured by Michallon’s “Éruption du Vésuve, la nuit”. I have no real clue what I thought back in the 1980s but whatever it was it struck me enough to buy a print, the first print in my collection. It hangs on the landing wall opposite my bedroom door so each morning I am reminded of the awesome power of Mother Nature and how devastatingly destructive that power can be. Painted in 1822 it amazes me how a young man not yet 25 captured all that in a painting.

Waterfall at Mont-Dore by Achilles-Etna Michallon, 1818. Oil on canvas. The Met, New York, USA

“Waterfall at Mont- Dore” is among Michallon’s landscapes that forced art historians to change their views in the 1930s and the artist’s role as one of the new school of landscape painting became apparent having been obscured by his pupil Camille Corot’s work. For me, it is the embodiment of the vigorous aesthetic of waterfalls in woodland which I adore and where I feel so at peace.

Portrait of a Peasant from the Environs of Rome by Achille Etna Michallon, 1818-21. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France

My final choice is a sentimental one. One of the last gifts given to me by my late partner was “Portrait of a Peasant from the Environs of Rome”. Michallon’s vibrant palette brings the painting a sense of being alive and, of course, for me, it brings Gabbie, or my memories of her, back to me every time I see it.

In Love and light
Raven xx

2 thoughts on “Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge Monthly Review – Achille-Etna Michallon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s