FRANÇOIS SCHOMMER | STUDIES OF A RUSSIAN SOLDIER IN COMBAT DURING THE NAPOLEONIC WAR
John Richardson: A Scholar Collects
1850 - 1935
STUDIES OF A RUSSIAN SOLDIER IN COMBAT DURING THE NAPOLEONIC WAR
inscribed à M.G. Larroumet., signed F.Schommer and dated 1889 (lower left)
oil on canvas
canvas: 15¾ by 21⅜ in.; 40 by 54.3 cm
framed: 21¼ by 26⅝ in.; 54 by 67.6 cm
Lined. The work present well, aside from surface dirt and dust; a 1/2 inch tear at lower right; a few scattered pin holes at lower left under left-most soldier; pin dot dent on the second to left rider's thigh and pin dot loss above his ankle. Under UV: varnish fluoresces green. There is a 3 inch sideways "S" shaped repair extending across the second to left rider's ankle; fine scattered retouches to second to left rider and his horse and under proper right arm of the second to right rider. Scattered feathery retouches in the upper background. Fine vertical retouches at lower right.
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Gustave Larroumet (1852-1903), to whom the present work is inscribed, was a French historian and polymath. After attempting careers in the military and medical fields, Larroumet found himself as a substitute professor at the Lycée de Vendôme, Paris. By 1884, he was a professor at the Sorbonne, where he taught until his death in 1903. He was awarded the Légion d'honneur et des palmes académiques and published extensively on diverse subjects, including Napoleon, which may be why François Schommer dedicated this animated study to Larroumet.
The soldier depicted is a stylized Russian Army Cuirassier from circa 1812-1814. The artist has taken liberties, changing the color of the collars and the cuirasse, which should be black. This change in color may be related to a legend that the Pskovian, a Russian dragoon regiment, captured French Golden Cuirasses and wore their colors instead of those of the Russian regiment.
We are grateful to Sergey Podstanitsky for his assistance in researching this work.