The Best Portraits in Engraving

The Satin Gown

(Painted by Gerard Terburg, and Engraved by Johann Georg Wille.)

Wille lived to old age, not dying till 1808. During this long life he was active in the art to which he inclined naturally. His mastership of the graver was perfect,Wille. lending itself especially to the representation of satin and metal, although less happy with flesh. His Satin Gown, or L'Instruction Paternelle, after Terburg, and Les Musiciens Ambulans, after Dietrich, are always admired. Nothing of the kind in engraving is finer. His style was adapted to pictures of the Dutch school, and to portraits with rich surroundings. Of the latter the principal are Comte de Saint-Florentin, Poisson Marquis de Marigny, John de Boullongne, and the Cardinal de Tencin.

Especially eminent was Wille as a teacher. Under his influence the art assumed a new life, so that he became father of the modern school. His scholars spread everywhere,Bervic. and among them are acknowledged masters. He was teacher of Bervic, whose portrait of Louis XVI. in hisToschi. coronation robes is of a high order, himself teacher of the Italian Toschi, who, after an eminent career, died as late as 1858; also teacher of Tardieu, himself teacher of the brilliant Desnoyers, whose portrait of the Emperor Napoleon in his Coronation Robes is the fit complement toDesnoyers. that of Louis XVI.; also teacher of the German, J. G. von Müller, himself father and teacher of J. Frederick vonMüller. Müller, engraver of the Sistine Madonna, in a plate whose great fame is not above its merit; also teacher of the ItalianVangelisti. Vangelisti, himself teacher of the unsurpassed Longhi, in whose school were Anderloni and Jesi. Thus not onlyAnderloni
and Jesi.
 by his works, but by his famous scholars, did the humble gunsmith gain sway in art.

Napoleon I.

(Painted by François Gérard, and Engraved by Auguste Boucher Desnoyers.)

Among portraits by this school deserving especial mention is that of King Jerome of Westphalia, brother of Napoleon, by the two Müllers, where the genius of the artist is most conspicuous, although the subject contributes little. As in the case of the Palace of the Sun, described by Ovid, Materiam superabat opus. This work is a beautiful example of skill in representation of fur and lace, not yielding even to Drevet.

Longhi was a universal master, and his portraits are only parts of his work. That of Washington, which is rare, is evidently founded on Stuart's painting, but afterLonghi. a design of his own, which is now in the possession of the Swiss Consul at Venice. The artist felicitated himself on the hair, which is modelled after the French masters.[7] The portraits of Michael Angelo, and of Dandolo, the venerable Doge of Venice, are admired; so also is the Napoleon, as King of Italy, with the iron crown and finest lace. But his chief portrait is that of Eugene Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, full length, remarkable for plume in the cap, which is finished with surpassing skill.