The painter Pierre Revoil (1776 – 1842) is a good example of how artists sometimes have to adapt to the signs of the times and to the political and economic vicissitudes of every moment.
This is a character who did not come from a family of artists, and who, thanks to his skill with brushes, reached a point where he was even part of the group that followed the great painter of NeoclassicismJacques Louis David.
Henry IV playing with his sons from Revoil
It was the beginning of the 19th century, and the artist also began to paint pictures linked to the acts of Napoleon Bonaparte and republican ideas. That was the time of maximum splendor of him. However, when the emperor fell from the throne he was going to enter the phase of theRestoration, and he was forced to adapt to the new times
This painting en titledHenry IV playing with his children before the ambassadorbelongs to that period. A work from 1825 in which Pierre Revoil introduces us to King Henry IV, one of the most beloved in France, in a very familiar attitude. We see how he is playing with his offspring, among them the futureLouis XIII, while the Spanish ambassador requires his attention
An act that became a kind of legend, since it is said that the king asked the ambassador if he also had children. To which he replied yes,who told him that he would understand that when he finished playing he would attend to him.
That is, it is a scene very much in line with extolling the monarchy, making it more humane and closer to the people. In other words, with an approach very typical of the Restoration.
Henry IV and his son before Georges Claude's ambassador
By the way, the work is today in the Castle of Pau, in the south of the Gallic country and where that king was born. And we can see that the setting of the fabric is very similar to how that palatial castle was and is decorated. However, this similarity between the tapestries, furniture and decorative elements of the Château de Pau can be seen much more in another painting that is practically the same as that of Revoil. And it is a canvas byGeorges Claude, who in 1905 painted the same scene of the king playing with his son, in an almost identical attitude. Although the date of this second painting is surprising, when the artistic avant-garde were in full swing in France, where the post-impressionist movements had emerged, and there was still no little for Cubism or Fauvism to hatch.