Horace Vernet

Emile Jean-Horace Vernet (June 30, 1789 - January 17, 1863) was a French painter of battle panoramas, sporting, and Arab themes. The latter became known as orientalism.

Vernet was born to Carle Vernet, another famous painter. Ironically, he was born in the Paris Louvre, while his parents were staying there during the French Revolution. Vernet quickly developed a disdain of Renaissance Classicism, and decided to create his "own" art form. Therefore, he began depicting the French soldier in realism, rather than in an idealized fashion. Some of his paintings regarding the real French soldier include Dog of the Regiment, Trumpeter's Horse, and Death of Poniatowski.

In 1819, Vernet began depicting immense, large-scale battle scenes. Although his works were painted with good speed, they were considered to be some of the best pictures of art regarding battle scenes. Also, rather than capturing certain episodes of battles, Vernet chose entire campaigns, such as the Battle of Italy and the capture of Rome. Also, some of his more well-known pieces included those from the French Revolution, and arguably his most famous work of art was the Battle of the Bridge of Arcole, which he painted in 1826. That piece depicted young Napoleon leading his troops across a bridge with a tattered flag. The actual battle, Battle of the Bridge of Arcole (Le Bataille du Pont d'Arcole in French), occurred in 1796.

Vernet depicted many other battles of the Napoleonic Wars, including the Battle of Jena. Also, he accompanied the French Army during the Crimean War, producing several important paintings, including one of the Battle of the Alma. In addition, his depictions of Algerian battles, such as the French occupation of the Pass of Mouzia, were well-received, as they were natural depictions of the French army at hand. In fact, when Emperor Louis Napoleon asked Vernet to remove a certain obnoxious general from one of his paintings, he replied, "I am a painter of history, sire, and I will not violate the truth." Vernet died in his hometown of Paris in 1863.

Interestingly, Vernet was alluded to in certain literary works, including Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, namely "The Greek Interpreter". In that story, Holmes states, "My ancestors were country squires... my grandmother... was the sister of Vernet, the French artist."