Ferdinand Roybet
(Uzès 1840 - Paris 1920)

  • Author: Ferdinand Royblet (Uzès 1840 - Paris 1920)

  • Technique: Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm

After spending his childhood in the café run by his family in Uzès, Ferdinand Roybet leaves with his parents to settle in Lyon. The young man then enters Vibert's etching class at seventeen, which he leaves quickly enough to study painting. In 1863 he participated in a school contest with a martyr from Saint Irénée and sold his first painting the following year. In 1864, after the death of his father, he moved to Paris alone. His hard work allows him to progress quickly and create a personal style. He began in 1865 at the Salon with two paintings announcing his taste for Renaissance scenes and past centuries. In the same year he exhibited two engravings at the Society of Aquafortists.

In 1866 he exhibited a large painting, the Mad under Henry III (Grenoble, Museum of Fine Arts), which caused a sensation to the point of being acquired by Princess Mathilde, thus dedicating the artist's talent. This prestigious acquisition gave it a great reputation. This work marks the violent, even aggressive, irruption of Roybet's color, which he uses from a very original point of view. His success encouraged him to pursue his retrospective style, which he inherited in part from the Lyon school of painting and which corresponds to the artistic ideals of the Second Empire, therefore fond of historical re-enactments. The following shows confirm his success with the public, as well as with critics and buyers (Le Duo, 1867, Les Joueurs de Trictrac, 1868). In 1871, Ferdinand Roybet made the first of his trips to Holland and thus improved his knowledge of the old masters, of whom he made many copies. In particular, he discovers the strength of the works of Frans Hals and derives a greater virtuosity in the management of colors and a certain way of proposing light tones with the tip of the brush. He also acquires, through the example of Hals, a new way of enhancing faces against dark backgrounds and austere clothes where only the whiteness of a strawberry illuminates the expression of the features. Furthermore, the study of Rembrandt, Téniers, Rubens, Jordaens and Brouwer is also a valuable lesson for him. In the year 1872, he traveled to Algeria where he multiplies the sketches, where we can already find the characteristic freedom characteristic of his pen drawings. It was from this period that he began painting his early musketeers and gentlemen to whom he owes part of his reputation.

Then, after a pause of several years, Roybet exhibited again at the Salon since 1892, where he made a triumphant return (Portrait of Juana Romani). In 1893, Charles the Bold rode into Nesle church earning the medal of honor. This scene of historical reconstruction and considerable size guarantees the artist's reputation abroad, where he is presented. At the same time, he embarked on a career as a renowned portrait painter with the wealthy French and American bourgeoisie, giving his models an image that was both psychologically accurate and socially satisfying. Among his portraits are those of Count Potocki, Jules Lefebvre, Cormon or Madame Olympe Hériot (1891), which reveals the influence of Japanese prints whose composition he also studied. Roybet multiplied the successes at the Salon by subsequently presenting some of his most important works: 1893, The 1894 Hot Hand, The 1895 Saragand, The 1898 Astronomer, The 1901 Savants, The Refusal of Taxes 1909.

Roybet has a truly international position at the moment. Sarabanda in particular is required in many exhibitions, not only in the provinces, but also abroad, from Venice to Copenhagen. The artist's mastery is therefore at its peak and, having made large genre scenes of a dazzling drawing, he gradually focuses on compositions where most of the work is in the game of expression different characters. His stays in Italy and his trip to Spain, where he studied Velasquez for a long time, perhaps accentuate this trend that he will pronounce at the end of his life. Its growing reputation attracts students and a small cohort of protégés, including Consuelo Fould. Appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1893, he became an Officer and a member of the Institute. He also won the Medal of Honor at the Universal Exhibitions in Antwerp (1894), Berlin and Vienna. He devoted himself to religious subjects at the end of his life.

Roybet, whose painting is characterized by a great firmness of workmanship, often presents portraits dressed in costumes with shiny silks, ranging from the end of the 16th century until the 18th century. Realizes a real transposition of the men and women of the present in a past time, understood as a golden age and adorned

Paris, Musée d'Orsay
Avignon, France
Bordeaux, France
Mulhouse, France
New York City, New York
Biography: E.Benezit, Grùnd edition, Volume II, p. 58 - 59

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