(b. 1758, Bordeaux, d. 1836, Paris)


French painter and lithographer, son of Joseph Vernet. His full name is Antoine-Charles-Joseph Vernet. At the age of 11 he entered the studio of Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié. His training culminated in the award of the Prix de Rome in 1782; however, his stay in Rome was terminated when he underwent a 'mystical experience' and was sent back to Paris. He was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale in 1789 on presentation of the Triumph of Aemilius Paulus (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Although his sister Emilie was guillotined, none of the tragic aspects of the Revolution is apparent in his subsequent work. 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.

His wittily malicious satires of Directoire types, Incroyables et merveilleuses, engraved in 1797, made his reputation and set the tone for most of his future aquatinted work, for example Costumes (1814-18). An early practitioner of lithography, he excelled in the acute, unexaggerated observation of contemporary manners, e.g. Delpech's Print Shop (c. 1818) and the Cries of Paris (100 plates, after 1816).

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.

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