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Death of King Pedro (24 September 1834)

Nicolas-Eustache Maurin (Perpignan, 1799-Paris, 1850)1836

National Palace of Queluz

National Palace of Queluz

Nicolas-Eustache Maurin
Paris, France, 1836
Hand-coloured lithograph
31,5 x 36,5 cm

Inscriptions:
MORT DE DON PEDRO (24 7.bre 1834) / Don Pédro regent du Portugal, sentant sa fin prochaine montra la plus admirable résignation. Il / fit appeler son Auguste fille Dona Maria et lui recommanda de s'attacher à la Charte, comme à la seule ancre / de salut il manda près de lui les ministres et quelques vieux soldats et dit à l'un deux. / " Viens que je t'embrasse et que je te remercie de tes nobles services dis à tes camarades que je regrette de ne / pouvoir les presser tous sur mon coeur pour leur prouver combien je les aime et les estime et combien je / m'honore d'avoir combattu avec eux pour sauver la patrie " | MORTE DE D. PEDRO (24 de 7.bro de 1834) / D.Pedro, Regente de Portugal, sentindo approximarse a sua ultima hora. Mostrou a mais admiravel resignação. / Mandou chamar a sua Augusta filha D. Maria e lhe recommendou a observancia da Carta como seu unico / porto de salvamento. Tambem fez vir á su presença os Ministros e alguns soldados velhos e dise a hum destes: / " Vem ca, quero abracar-te e agradecer-te os teus nobres servicos. Dize aos teus camaradas que sinto não poder / aperta-los todos contra o meu coração para lhes provar quanto os amo e me honro de haver combatido com elles / para salvar a patria. "
[DEATH OF DOM PEDRO (24 September 1834) / Dom Pedro, the Prince Regent of Portugal, sensing his last hour drawing closer, displayed the most admirable resignation. / He sent for his august daughter Dona Maria and recommended that she should observe the Charter as her only / safe haven. He also called for the Ministers and some old soldiers and said to one of these: / "Come here, I wish to embrace you and thank you for your noble services. Tell your comrades that I feel that I cannot / hold them all close against my heart to prove to them how much I love them and how honoured I am to have fought with them / to save the nation.”]

Subscription:
Paris, chez Bulla, rue S.t Jacques, 38. — N Maurin del. — L.de Maurin, rue Mezières.7.

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Details

  • Title: Death of King Pedro (24 September 1834)
  • Long Description: The death of Dom Pedro, Duke of Bragança, took place on 24th September 1834, at around two-thirty in the afternoon in the same chamber in which he had been born thirty-five years earlier. His life ended “in the flowering of his age and at the peak of his glories”, resulting from disease and continual tiredness that had eaten away at the monarch's health. A loss, at the beginning of autumn that had been preceded by a series of victories that had toppled the Ancien Régime in Portugal: deposing his brother Miguel by arms and consequently ending the civil war between the absolutists and the liberals and the restoration and swearing in of the Constitutional Charter in front of the Courts and gaining national and international recognition of his daughter Maria da Glória as Queen of Portugal. The first act of government taken by the young Maria II would be awarding the Great Cross of the Tower and the Sword to her dear father, “bearing witness to the living love, respect and gratitude” to his august person (Royal Letter written in the Palace of Queluz, 20th September 1834). The death of King Pedro in the Don Quixote Room held major repercussions in numerous of the periodicals and literary documents of the period and became the feature of various posthumous engravings. Among the leading images depicting this scene is the work by the renowned Nicolas-Eustache Maurin, a lithographer with his own workshop in Paris catering to a cultured and wealthy audience. The 1836 editing and selling of the lithographic print was the responsibility of the Bulla house, an important family of engravers, editors and retailers of prints, led by François Bulla who, between 1818 and 1849, ran a print shop in Paris, on Rue Saint-Jacques no. 38. The composition invented by Maurin recreated the final moments of Pedro, agonising on his deathbed, bidding farewell to his daughter, spouse and personal friends, in the presence of other persons in his service; in an episode that took place in fact on various moments through 20th September and here concentrated into a single scene that elicits narration and simultaneousness, in which the “course of events” metamorphoses into an “instant”: to the right, his wife, Amélia de Beauharnais, is consoled by the Duke of Saldanha, while his recently crowned daughter Maria II, kneels and holds his hand at the foot of the bed. To the left, the king symbolically bids farewell to his troops and field assistants, shaking the hand of a veteran Manuel Pereira, of Caçadores 5, his favourite infantry battalion. Through this brave soldier, covering his face to hide the tears of pain, there are other prominent personalities such as the marshals of the “liberating army” and Father Marcos, confessor to Pedro since 1832 and Archbishop of Lacedemonia since 1835. Other engravings identical to that of the Queluz print are known beyond Portugal such as that held in the Palace of Itamaraty (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) collection. In Portugal, the engraving in the Romantic Museum of Quinta da Macieirinha (Oporto) features some small difference. The most significant comes with the depiction of Pedro with a triangular beard and side-burns and not with beard and moustache, as in earlier examples. Both types derive from the same matrix whose surface nevertheless underwent alterations. The example from the Palace of Queluz is a later version, finished in more details. On 24th February 1836, the Fine Arts section of the Brazilian newspaper "O Artilheiro" (no. 42, page 4), reads: “Having just arrived from France and placed on sale in the Fontana print store on Rua de S. António, Nos. 48 and 49, a fine Print represents the final moments of the August Duke of Bragança. This is a perfect group of portraits, of Moribund Hero, his August Daughter and Wife, the Marshals Duke of Terceira and [Duke of] Saldanha, the Archbishop of Lacedemonia, the Marquis of Resende, Ministers of State, Persons in the services of the Palace [of Queluz], who are immediately recognisable on first sight so similar do they resemble! It is not possible to view this print without a vivid emotion of yearning and loss. For sale at 1,200 rs.”. This Brazilian source, indicative of the year (1836) when the engravings went on sale and already mentioned in the third volume of the “Dicionário de Iconografia Portuguesa. Retratos de portugueses e de estrangeiros em relações com Portugal” (Ernesto Soares and Henrique de Campos Ferreira Lima, 1950). This information enables a better tracing of the chronological ark of the Maurin engraving. This important fact – the emergence of the print on the market in 1836 – was first recorded in the “Bibliographie de la France ou Journal général de l'imprimerie et de la librairie” in 1836 (Year 25, no. 6, Saturday, 6th February), a French weekly publication founded by imperial decree in 1811 and compiling annual volumes listing all of the works published in France, including books, musical scores, maps, photographs, registrations of foreign publications and prints (engravings and lithographs). On page 71 of the aforementioned volume, we may find the following: “142. Mort de don Pèdre, lith., d’après Nicolas Maurin. – A Paris, chez Bulla, rue St-Jacques, n. 38.” Therefore, based on this source from the beginning of February 1836, one year and several months following the death of Pedro, the Bulla house of Paris placed Maurin's engraving on sale. The Palace of Queluz hand coloured lithograph, done in pencil with an excellent handling of the dark-light contrast, clearly displays the intention of illuminating the sombre central group through the usage of lithographic crayon highlighting the whites of the shirt and the pillow of Dom Pedro, the collar of the queen's dress and the clothing and jewels of the Duchess. This traces the thematic content (the final moments or the death of the king) frequent in history paintings of the 19th century. We might point to Charles de Steuben and his “Death of Napoleon on 5th May 1821” (1828), with a great impact on the then contemporary engravings market and contributing towards transforming the figure of Napoleon into a tragic hero and comparable with Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar. This theme – which interweaves the iconographic traditions prevailing in Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries, especially in relation to notions surrounding political propaganda and funereal ideology – falls within the scope of the model depicting a “good death”, hence, death from disease or ageing in which the king, on his deathbed, enjoys the time to bid farewell to his loved ones, issue instructions over his succession, receive final communion and the last rites and prepare to die religiously. In the case of Maurin's work, with its witness style and emotive language stemming from the influence of Romanticism, we are confronted with the re-creation of a semi-private scene that effectively took place on 20th September 1834 with Pedro not displaying attributes alluding to his royal status but rather samples of his humanity and commitment to the causes he defended until his death. The French artist, engaged in representing the definitive goodbye of Pedro, made recourse to these visual sources, the raw materials driving a dynamic trade in prints circulating throughout Europe and boosting the heroic dimensions to certain monarchs and political and military leaders. Within this framework, we should mention an earlier example, published in 1832, representing the final moments of the young Duke of Reichstadt – son of Napoleon I and Marie Louise of Habsburg – in the Vienna palace of Schönbrunn, in the same chamber where his father, years before, had stayed at the peak of his grandeur and power. The inscription that accompanies the image (“DERNIER MOMENT DU FILS DE NAPOLÉON / A vingt et un ans Mourir sans Gloire; quand l'Epée que je tiens, / a fait trembler l'Europe”) evokes the myth of Napoleon as a romantic hero and the nostalgia for the late Empire. The dramatic tone and the layout of the figures foretell of the scheme set out for the Death of Pedro, even while the young Napoleon, nephew to Leopoldina of Habsburg (first wife of Pedro), does not appear stricken upon his deathbed but rather dressed and holding a sheathed sword to his chest. Far closer to the “Death of Pedro” from the compositional point of view but of lower artistic quality, we encounter “LA MORT DE NAPOLÉON II.”, an etching from 1832 and by an unknown author sold by the Parisian Casa Dopter (Rue St. Jacques, no. 21), with the positioning of the figures and the features clearly in keeping with the Palace of Queluz lithograph. ON NICOLAS-EUSTACHE MAURIN Son of the painter Pierre Maurin and brother to the painter and lithographer Antoine Maurin, Nicolas was a student of Regnault and took part in the Paris Salons of 1833, 1834 and 1835. A painter and engraver, he came to prominence for his lithographs carried out in the 1830s and particularly standing out not only for his elegant portraits of the royal family and high society during the reign of Louis-Philippe I, the last king of France, but also his generic scenes about the fashions and clothing of the then bourgeois with some works impregnated with a certain eroticism as well as as a creator of oriental influenced fantasies and historical compositions, both classical and contemporary. He authored, in conjunction with his brother Antoine, “Iconographie des contemporains” (1832) in which he included his renowned lithography "Toussaint Louverture" and a series of portraits under the title “Célebrités contemporaines”. Other highlights of the portraits produced by N. Maurin include the group portrait of Louis-Philippe I and family drawn and lithographed by Maurin in around 1842 and published by Bulla and François Delarue. The art critic Charles Baudelaire, in his celebrated essay “Le Peintre de la vie moderne” (1863), mentions Maurin as one of the greats of French lithography and ranked alongside names such as Paul Gavarni, Honoré Daumier, Achille Devéria, Numa, Charles-Émile Wattier, Octave Tassaert, Eugène Lami, Louis-Joseph Trimolet and Traviès, “painters of circumstance and of everything that suggests the eternal”.
  • Creator: Nicolas-Eustache Maurin (Perpignan, 1799-Paris, 1850)
  • Date: 1836
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Rights Information: Fernando Montesinos
  • Image Rights: © PSML | Foto: Emigus, 2012

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