Charles Marie Bouton
View of a monastery courtyard with monks
Pencil and watercolor.
210 x 160 mm – 8 1/4 x 6 5/16 in.
Signed, with a pen and black ink, top left : Button.
Annotated, in pencil, on the back : The courtyard of the monastery
Trained with landscape painters Jean-Victor Bertin and Pierre Prévost, Charles Marie Bouton specialized in representations of ruins and vestiges, favoring the interiors of religious monuments in a romantic verve close to François-Marius Granet. Fascinated by the architectural heritage in danger and the Middle Ages, he became interested, like other painters of his time, in the museum of French Monuments created by Alexandre Lenoir in 1795. He successfully exposed views of inside churches, ruins and medieval monuments to the Salon from 1810 to 1853. In 1822 he joined Louis Daguerre for the creation of the first Diorama, a device presenting large-scale paintings made on translucent canvases animated by sets of lights, a process which was very successful with the public. He published collections of interiors with engravings of ruins and churches (Interior scenes, Paris 1828 at Engelmann ; Six interiors, Paris 1832 at Ardit ; Twelve interior, Paris 1832 at Delpech ). He also collaborated in the development of the work Picturesque and romantic trips from ancient France in twenty volumes ( 1820-1863 ) of Baron Taylor, great defender of National Heritage.
The artist represents, in this watercolor, a porch of Romanesque architecture opening onto the interior courtyard of a monastery. At the bottom, monks, lined up by two, descend the staircase which joins a courtyard bathed in morning white light. While some of his works refer directly to specific places, others fall within his imagination with, sometimes, the re-use of motives of real architectures. The staging with its alternation of bright planes and dark corners helps to emphasize the silence, the introspection and devotion that emanate from this scene marked by the literary and artistic romantic vogue of this time.
Condition report: very nice freshness.