Musée No:325.192

Musée No:325.192

Regular price £25.00

The Three Graces

Artist: Jean François Janinet


Jean-François Janinet, (1752 - 1814) was born in Paris. He was an artist, a writer and perhaps more interestingly a balloonist. His started at the Royal Academy in 1772, and his first engravings date from 1774. He was active as an artist and colour etchist through the final years of the Ancien regime (the monarchy) and throughout the French Revolution. In 1777 he created a portrait of the young Queen Marie-Antoinette. 

His was very interested in science, especially in ballooning. He only gave up after a failed flight in July 1784 in Paris. He had attempted a flight in a balloon of his own design, featuring a fishtailed rudder. There are two of his engravings of the event – one depicting a fabulous silver coloured balloon with painted cherubs, gold embellishments, blue silk swags and a basket underneath with an blazing open fire (utterly mad!). The other shows the aftermath entitled “The deplorable fire of the aerostatic machine of Miolan & Janinet, Sunday 11 July 1784”. The subtext goes on to say that after several attempts to fly, the machine caught fire and the huge crowd of spectators became impatient and stormed the site, in spite of the guards, burning and destroying everything they could get their hands on!

He was an excellent portraitist and had an innovative approach to colour engraving allowing him to obtain an effect similar to watercolour, gouache or wash.  He was also in charge of illustrations for the weekly “Costumes et annales des grands Théâtres de Paris” . He took part in a collective project illustrating the monuments of Paris.

His career wasn't effected by the Revolution he simply changed subjects. For example, in 1789, he created topical prints, such as “The Departure of the Women of Les Halles and Paris for Versailles - October 5, 1789".  The very next day Louis XVI, his Queen and family were forced by crowds of angry revolutionaries to leave Versailles for imprisonment in Paris. From January 1790 onwards he produced at least 50 etchings recording the political events of the French Revolution, both in black and white and in colour, all accompanied with descriptions of the facts.

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