Salon de 1819

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There were around 1,615 entries in the livret

This exhibition was large (30% more works than in 1817), featuring many historical and religious works commissioned by the Bourbon government. The date of the Salon opening returned to late August as it had been in the eighteenth century. August 25 was the feast day of Saint Louis who was the patron saint of the Bourbon dynasty.  

The ceilings of the grand staircase leading to the Musée Royal and exhibition spaces, including the Salon Carré, were newly painted/decorated for the opening.  The ceiling painting by Pujol represented the rebirth of the arts and celebrated royal patronage. The collage includes a print of the main staircase with a reduced copy of the work.

Jacques-Louis David went into exile in Brussels after the fall of Napoléon.  There were critics, connoisseurs, and artists concerned about a decline or degeneration of the Davidian tradition. Critic Auguste Hilarion Kératry’s review of the Salon expressed his fear: David, where are you now?

Although not exhibited in the Salon, David’s latest work, Cupid and Psyche from 1817, was indeed accessible and on display in a Paris private collection (below; 
Cleveland Museum of Art).  Picot was a student of David and exhibited his version of the same theme.
Ingres’ exotic Grande Odalisque and Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa attracted much negative critical commentary.  The distorted anatomy of Ingres’ nude was disturbing  (too many back vertebrae) and Géricault‘s interpretation of a contemporary disaster at sea was a political flashpoint for royalists and republicans. The museum director orchestrating the Salon, the Comte de Forbin, altered the title in the catalog to a generic shipwreck subject. Critics were also dismayed by the focus on death and human suffering. However, the painting was definitely popular/a success and received one of 32 gold medals. See here for more on the Raft of the Medusa.  

Sculptors Dupaty and Bosio exhibited nymphs or female nature spirits found in Greek and Roman mythology. Biblis (Byblis) was transformed into a fountain after drowning in her own tears and Salmacis was a narcissistic water nymph.  

Parant’s Apotheosis of Henry IV was painted on porcelain.

Michallon received the first grand prize for historical landscape painting in 1817.