Louis Germain (1733-ca. 1791)

Louis Germain (1733-ca. 1791)

Louis Germain (1733-ca. 1791)

Louis Germain: Heads of Expression, 1773

Original etching



Louis Germain (1733-ca. 1791)

Louis Germain: Heads of Expression, 1773

Original etching – Louis Germain Heads expression

Proof on laid paper showing a study of heads or heads of expression, 1773. Signature in the engraving lower left ‘dessiné et gravé par Germain à Neuilly 1773’.
Good provenance: on the reverse of the print is the handwritten signature in brown ink of the print dealer Naudet ‘Chez Naudet Md au Louvre 1822’.
References: Inventory of the French Fund n 30 – Unknown by Le Blanc and Portalis – Béraldi

Small margins, Dimensions at the cupper plate : H. 120 mm x W. 153 mm.

Condition : Accident in the upper left corner, restored. Traces of mounting on the back with remains of paper.

Louis Germain heads of expression – Louis Germain (1733-c. 1791) should not be confused with Jean-Baptiste-Louis Germain (Reims, 1782-Reims 1842), French painter. Our Louis Germain is a French draftsman and engraver whose life is not well known. The BNF lists 45 pieces for this artist who engraved mainly landscapes and architectural pieces and whose works include Le marchand de rogomme (1784), Ruines de l’amphithéâtre de Capoue (1781), Ruine d’un palais du coté de Pausilippe (1781), Joueurs de cartes dans une auberge (1766).

The piece by Germain presented here is dated 1773. It enters well in reasonance of with “The contest of the head of expression”. This is an academic exercise of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture which was established in the middle of the 18th century on the initiative of the Count of Caylus. Its objective was to improve the representation of the expression of passions. He proposed to young artists to study the neglected part of Greek statuary, which wanted the expressiveness to be summarized only by the bodies.

The establishment of this competition was accepted by the Academy in its meeting of October 27, 1759. A regulation is written taking into account the recommendations of Caylus and organizing the modalities of the test. The competition took place in September of each year. The students had the opportunity to paint, sculpt or model the life-size head of a model expressing a passion.


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