What is this painting?
December 29, 2005 11:59 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to find out information on this painting.

I found it in the book "The Library of Historic Characters and Famous Events of all Nationsand all Ages" Volume three (of ten). It was published in 1895. The link goes to a scan from this book. The book says the image is a "picture" that was presented at the "Paris Salon" in 1892 by Pierre Fritel. It is entitled "The Conquerors" and it depicts the grest military leaders of time walking through a field of the dead.

Depicted are Caeser, Rameses II, Atilla, Hannibal, Tamerlane, Napoleon, Alexander and Nebuchadnezzar.

My questions are:

Who is Pierre Fritel.
Is the image actually a painting?
If so; where is the painting? Is it in color?

The book doesn't say that Pierre was french, only that the picture was presented in France, but for what it's worth the title in french would be "Les Conquérants", and Pierre is an awfully French sounding name.
posted by Infernarl to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Quoted from this:

"In the Daniel book on page 128, (Study for week of October 24th 2005) there is a reprint of a painting entitled "The Conquerors". Starting from the left side of the page and going across, they are as follows:

Ramses II
Attila the Hun
Julius Caesar

In Volume 3 of the ten volume the Library of Historic Characters and Famous Events of All Nations and All Ages??E published in 1895, the first chapter opens:

In 1892, Pierre Fritel astonished the world of art with his picture of "The Conquerors" exhibited at the Paris Salon. In this work, the daring genius of the artist has brought together in one impressive scene the war-heroes of all ages. As inspired prophets have revealed to the imagination the future changes of nations in one vast vision, here the painter, rising above the limitations of his art, forces not merely upon the aroused mind the almost superhuman grandeur of those leaders who have from age to age changed the destinies of the world. In the centre
of the van rides Julius Caesar, whom Shakespeare has pronounced "the foremost man of all this world." On his right are the Egyptian called by the Greeks Sesostris, now known to be Ramses II, Atilla, "the Scourge of God", Hannibal the Carthaginian, and Tamerlane the Tartar. On his left march Napoleon, the last world-conqueror, Alexander of Macedon, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, that "Head of Gold" in the great image seen in his vision as interpreted by the Prophet Daniel, and Charlemagne, who restored the fallen Roman Empire. Straight onward, mounted on horseback or riding in chariots, march these mighty men of the past at the head of armies whose lines of spears stretch back into the dim distance. On either side lie prostrate the naked bodies of those who have yielded their lives that these men might exercise power. The Conquerors, their hosts and their victims all belong to the world of the dead. Yet their power and glory are made fearful realities. Their influence and work are felt to pervade the world, to reach even to us, the living spectators. They are presented as dead, yet living and sending forth a mighty effect upon ages yet to come. The mighty sacrifices by which the glory of the world is achieved are here realized as never before."

I'm currently asking that Xanga user's source of the "daniels text" mentioned at the beginning. This spammish-looking page seems to indicate the painting was once at Paris Salon (2 links). I hope that helps some :-/
posted by vanoakenfold at 5:02 AM on December 30, 2005

FRITEL, Pierre (1853-1942)

So those are his dates. He is not in any of the dictionaries of art I have so he must be fairly obscure.

The work you linked to might be a decorative panel, or an actual fresco, since the sum total of his work in the RNM collection is interior decoration.

Haing said that, the Bridgeman art library has a few engravings, including one similar to the painting at the bottom.

That's all I could find...good luck.
posted by fire&wings at 7:34 AM on December 30, 2005

It looks like they may have some holdings of Pierre Fritel at the Musee d'Orsay. You could even try e-mailing the library at the Musee d'Orsay.

Another option is contacting your local art museum's library. If there's not one close to you or you don't know of one off hand, you can telephone the art library at the MFA, Boston. I can vouch for the reference librarian skills there. An art library has access to much more information (both electronic and print) than we do and they work on reference questions like this all the time.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 8:01 AM on December 30, 2005

You might be interested in the fact that it was used as an album cover by the (other) band Nirvana - the UK psyschedelic one in the 1960s - for their "All of Us" set.
posted by peterbl at 2:17 PM on December 30, 2005

I second Uncle Glendinning's suggestion that you try a public art library such as the MFA's in Boston.

As a staff member at a museum whose library isn't public but whose collection is extremely easy to search online, I get a lot of inquiries about obscure artists simply because according to Google, we're the only museum (apparently, because of our web presence, not actually) whose collection holds work by them. We don't have the resources to answer these questions, whereas public libraries (and research librarians) exist for precisely this reason.

You'll get a much faster response from people who are happy to be responding!


Having said that, since I'm the only one here today and it's the holidays, here's what Bénézit, the biographical dictionary of artists, has to say (at least, according to my rough and ready translation!):
Born July 5, 1853, in Paris. Painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Student of Millet and Cabanel. He showed in the Salon from 1876-1879. Second class medal in 1879; travel scholarship in 1885; bronze medal in 1889 Universal Exposition. Prix Belin-Dollet in 1909 for printmaking. Gold medal in 1920.

And, if I'm reading it correctly, the painting you are asking about is (or was) at "Le Musée de Lucerne." This may be the Museum of Art Lucerne, although their collection is only partly online, so I couldn't verify that.
posted by obliquicity at 2:44 PM on December 30, 2005

I'm currently asking that Xanga user's source of the "daniels text" mentioned at the beginning.

The book quoted from is "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy", seen here.
posted by spock at 5:07 PM on December 30, 2005

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