RAFFET, Auguste
(b. 1804, Paris, d. 1860, Genova)


French painter, lithographer, and illustrator, a student of Nicolas Toussaint Charlet.

At an early age he was apprenticed to a wood-turner, but took up the study of art at evening classes. At the age of 18 he spent a short period as an apprentice porcelain decorator. He became acquainted with Alexandre Cabanel, who made him apply his skill to the decoration of china, and with Rudor, from whom he received instruction in lithography, in the practice of which he was to rise to fame. In 1829 he became a pupil of Antoine-Jean Gros. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts, but returned definitely to lithography in 1830 when he produced on stone his famous designs of Lützen, Waterloo, Le bal, La revue, and Les adieux de la garrison, by which his reputation became immediately established.

Raffet revolutionized the representation of battle scenes. Both his paintings and his prints form a glorifying and often humorous chronicle of French political history from the Revolution to the culmination of the Second Empire, the battle of Solferino of 1859.

Raffet's chief works were his lithographs of the Napoleonic campaigns, from Egypt to Waterloo, vigorous designs that are inspired by ardent patriotic enthusiasm. As an illustrator his activity was prodigious, the list of works illustrated by his crayon amounting to about forty-five.

He went to Rome in 1849, was present at the siege of Rome, which he made the subject of some lithographs, and followed the Italian campaign of 1859, of which he left a record in his Episodes de la campagne d'Italie de 1859.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.