Portrait of a Portrait Painter: Henri-Pierre Danloux



















Henri-Pierre Danloux pictured here at a museum in Paris…you wouldn’t know him, unless he had painted your portrait.  Poor Henri-Pierre.  He wanted to be a history painter, to rise above his station as the family portraitist; alas, it was not to be.  He had an extra-special talent for capturing people, faces, children, dogs or human experiences on canvas that were considered charming, though not considered important.  But, we wouldn’t have this wonderful record of life in the late 18th century if it had not been for Henri-Pierre. His faces, people, personalities and even the pets of the period would have been lost.  The history painting genre is largely made up of old stories, heroic figures and grand gestures.  But portraits, are the real history; the real heart and soul of a culture, the true heroes of a time.  I wish I could have dinner with Henri-Pierre.  I would tell him not to despair; that I remember faces, not battles or grand historical gestures; but the people and their unique and extraordinary stories that he was so good at painting.  I am not sure, he would believe me.


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