Claude-Joseph Vernet

Nation: France

Artist

Birth Date: August 14, 1714
France Claude-Joseph Vernet Artist Cover
I. Career in Rome
II. Return to France
III. Legacy
I. Career in Rome
Claude-Joseph Vernet was born at Avignon, in the year 1714. His father taught him, very early, the first elements of painting. At the age of eighteen, Vernet set out for Rome, where his talents were, at first, but ill recompensed; but, as he increased in circumstances, he gratified his taste for travel. Endowed with a penetrating mind, he owed to the study of nature a large stock of ideas and innumerable pleasing recollections. In the end, the sight of a storm decided his choice in the particular style of painting to which he devoted himself.

In a few years Vernet's landscapes and especially his sea-pieces made his name known throughout Europe. Having employed himself in his early years upon historical painting, he had the art of placing in his compositions, figures perfectly well designed and grouped with considerable judgment, which almost always form the most interesting episodes. He has depictured, with infinite success, the motion of water and the velocity of clouds. If he be less delicate and correct than Claude Lorrain in his landscapes, he is infinitely more poetical and animated than that great master in his sea-pieces.

Vernet. (1815). In The historic gallery of portraits and paintings; and biographical review (Vol. 3). London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe.
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II. Return to France
After passing twenty years in Rome, and filling it with his chef d'oeuvres, Vernet was recalled into France, by an order of the court, in his thirty-eighth year. He was immediately received into the academy, and undertook, at the instance of government, that admirable collection of marine views of the ports of France, which, unfortunately, he was not able to complete. Few artists have left behind them a greater number of works. There is scarcely a cabinet in Europe that does not possess some of his pictures; and almost all the productions of this artist are held in the highest esteem.

Vernet. (1815). In The historic gallery of portraits and paintings; and biographical review (Vol. 3). London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe.
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III. Legacy
The personal qualities of Vernet, and his social virtues, were superior to the influence of fortune or honors. Admitted into the presence of royalty and courted by the great, he constantly preserved his affability and was ever modest and unassuming. If he indulged in luxury, it was less through ostentation than to attract around him a body of intelligent men, whose society was his principal recreation. In short, Vernet passed through life deservedly happy. He was respected even by those who were envious of his talents. It may be said that he terminated his career without having perceived any sensible diminution of his powers. He died, after a short illness, in the year 1789, at the age of seventy-five.

Vernet. (1815). In The historic gallery of portraits and paintings; and biographical review (Vol. 3). London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe.
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