Title: Episode of the Spanish Civil War in 1823 ...
Author : LECOMTE Hippolyte (1781 - 1857)
Creation date : 1828
Date shown: July 15, 1823
Dimensions: Height 227 - Width 254
Technique and other indications: Capture of the entrenchments of Sainte-Marguerite in front of Corunna, July 5, 1823.Oil painting on canvas
Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website
Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Picture reference: 79EE188 / MV 1784
Episode of the Spanish Civil War in 1823 ...
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Publication date: March 2016
The Spanish Civil War
One of the most retrograde regimes to emerge from the Congress of Vienna was the Spanish monarchy, Ferdinand VII having had to face increasingly strong liberal opposition which resulted, after a military uprising, in the sequestration of the royal family in July 1822 Lecomte's painting represents another, even though the Spanish countryside was often described at the time as a “promenade”.
A military episode
Executed shortly after the events he reports, this painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1824, the subject being explained very precisely by the libretto: “On July 15, 1823, General Bourke attacked the heights of Sainte Marguerite which dominated La Coruna. Before his troops were fully deployed, he saw a rock where the enemy had neglected to place cannon. He indicates this point to General Laroche-Jacquelin, telling him: this is the victory. At the head of the 7th line infantry regiment, General Laroche-Jacquelin attacks the entrenchments. Colonel Lambot, who commanded this regiment, arrives on the ridge and draws his entire body there through a fierce shootout. The enemy, disconcerted by this audacity and seeing the Berthier brigade gaining ground on the left, abandoned its entrenchments, leaving part of its artillery in the hands of the French by fleeing towards the city. "
Lecomte illustrates point by point the different episodes reported in the libretto, themselves taken from military dispatches, from the moment Bourke gave his orders until the final assault. But he juxtaposes them in the same painting, the simultaneous narration losing in realism what the scene gains in accuracy from the point of view of historical testimony. However topographical precision is put at the service of a real intelligence of the composition, Lecomte, since the Empire, having always known how to render the individuality of the facts which he was asked to illustrate.
A success for the Restoration
This work illustrates the baptism of fire for the white flag, which took place without military revolt and with success: for the first time since the end of the Empire, the French troops intervened in Europe with the consent of all, thus consolidating Restoration. This success did not fail to be exploited by the regime although in reality the French army encountered little opposition and, in any case, did not have to endure what Napoleon's troops had suffered a dozen years ago. It is therefore quite natural that this painting, commissioned by Louis XVIII, was integrated by Louis-Philippe into the galleries of the Musée de l'Histoire de France in Versailles, in whose spirit it fits perfectly.
- spain expedition
- Holy alliance
- Chateaubriand (François-René de)
Dominique BARJOT, Jean-Pierre CHALINE, André ENCREVÉ France in the 19th century 1814-1914 Paris, PUF, 1995 Bartholomé BENASSAR History of the Spanish Paris, Laffont, coll. "Book", 1992. Claire CONSTANS National Museum of the Palace of Versailles: Paintings , 2 vol.Paris, RMN, 1995.André CORVISIER Military history of France , t.2Paris, PUF, 1992.Emmanuel de WARESQUIEL, Benoît YVERT History of the Restoration: birth of modern France Paris, Perrin, 1996 Dominique BARJOT, Jean-Pierre CHALINE, André ENCREVÉ France in the 19th century 1814-1914 Paris, PUF, 1995 Bartholomé BENASSAR History of the Spanish Paris, Laffont, coll. "Book", 1992. Claire CONSTANS National Museum of the Palace of Versailles: Paintings , 2 vol.Paris, RMN, 1995.André CORVISIER Military history of France , t.2Paris, PUF, 1992.Emmanuel de WARESQUIEL, Benoît YVERT History of the Restoration: birth of modern France Paris, Perrin, 1996.
To cite this article
Pascal TORRÈS, "The French intervention in Spain (1822-1824)"