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Hersent, Louis

HERSENT, LOUIS (1777-1860), French painter, was born at Paris on the loth of March 1777, and becoming a pupil of David, obtained the Prix de Rome in 1797; in the Salon of 1802 appeared his " Metamorphosis of Narcissus," and he continued to exhibit with rare interruptions up to 183 1 . His most considerable works under the empire were " Achilles parting from Briseis," and " Atala dying in the arms of Chactas " (both engraved in Landon's Annales du Musfe) ; an " Incident of the life of Fenelon," painted in 1810, found a place at Malmaison, and "Passage of the Bridge atLandshut," which belongs to the same date, is now at Versailles. Hersent's typical works, however, belong to the period of the Restoration; " Louis XVI. relieving the Afflicted" (Versailles) and " Daphnis and Chloe " (engraved by Langier and by Gelee) were both in the Salon of 1817; at that of 1819 the " Abdication of Gustavus Vasa " brought to Hersent a medal of honour, but the picture, purchased by the duke of Orleans, was destroyed at the Palais Royal in 1848, and the engraving by Henriquel-Dupont is now its sole record. " Ruth," produced in 1822, became the property of Louis XVIII., who from the moment that Hersent rallied to the Restoration jealously patronized him, made him officer of the legion of honour, and pressed his claims at the Institute, where he replaced van Spaendonck. He continued in favour under Charles X., for whom was executed " Monks of Mount St Gotthard," exhibited in 1824. In 1831 Hersent made his last appearance at the Salon with portraits of Louis Philippe, MarieAmelie and the duke of Montpensier; that of the king though good, is not equal to the portrait of Spontini (Beilin), which is probably Hersent's chef-d'oeuvre. After this date Hersent ceased to exhibit at the yearly salons. Although in 1846 he sent an excellent likeness of Delphine Gay and one or two other works to the rooms of the Societe d'Artistes, he could not be tempted from his usual reserve even by the international contest of 1855. He died on the 2nd of October 1860.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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