Vernet, Carle (1758-1836) by Scholes, Robert

Carle Vernet (1758 – 1836) Vernet received a conventional artistic education from his father, Claude-Joseph Vernet, a very successful history and genre painter. In 1782 he won the highly coveted Prix de Rome, and in 1808 Napoleon awarded him the Legion of Honor for one of his battle scenes. Although his sister was guillotined for concealing letters to members of the aristocracy, Vernet’s work does not reflect tragedy. Instead, he concentrated much of his efforts on creating acute observations of daily life. This is especially true of his work after 1816, when he produced engravings of street vendors, horse markets, and dandies. Today Vernet is recognized more for his witty, satirical engravings than for his paintings. He is also frequently thought of in association with his son Horace, whose painting talents he fostered and who became even more famous than his father. And, for those modernist scholars who are interested in Sherlock Holmes, it is important to know that Homes himself says, at the beginning of explaining his facility for deduction, It is not clear which Vernet is involved here, Carle or his father, but the connection to the fictional Holmes is definite. The Greek Interpreter, my turn that way is in my veins, and may have come with my grandmother, who was the sister of Vernet, the French artist. Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.

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