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Tartar and the Lion of Chaeronea.

Dupré, Louis. Dupré, Louis. Tartar and Fragments of the Lion of Chaeronea. "Un Tartare et les Fragments du lion de Chéronée.." Paris "Imprimerie de Dondey-Dupré, Rue St Louis, No 46, Au Marais." 1825-37
Coloured lithograph of a tartar and his horse from Louis Dupré's " Voyage â Athènes et â Constantinople...". Original hand colour; verso blank; blind stamp of Dupré as issued.
The image shows a tartar and his magnificent horse in front of the ruined statue of the lion of Chaeronea. It is likely that the Tartar was a member of Dupré's travelling party.
The lion was rediscovered in 1818 by English travellers, and is believed to be a funerary monument erected in honor of the Sacred Band of Thebes massacred in 338BC.
Chaeronea was the site of several historical battles. Best known is that of 338 BC, between Philip II of Macedonia and a coalition of various Greek states, mainly Thebes and Athens. During the battle, the elite unit of Theban soldiers known as the Sacred Band of Thebes was wiped out completely .
Diodorus says that more than 1,000 Athenians died in the battle, with another 2,000 taken prisoner, and that the Thebans fared similarly. Plutarch suggests that all 300 of the Sacred Band were killed at the battle, having previously been seen as invincible. In the Roman period, the 'Lion of Chaeronea', an enigmatic monument on the site of the battle, was believed to mark the resting place of the Sacred Band. Modern excavations found the remains of 254 soldiers underneath the monument; it is therefore generally accepted that this was indeed the grave of the Sacred Band. Removed from a frame; even toning; colours faded; some light spotting to margins.

Louis Dupré [1789-1837].

A pupil of Jacques-Louis David in Paris, Louis Dupré became resident in Rome and was appointed official painter to the prince Jerome Bonaparte, in 1811.

In 1819, Louis Dupré took a six-month tour of Greece and Turkey, accompanied by three affluent English gentlemen, Messrs Hyett, Vivian, and Hay. He was received by the French consul Fauvel in Athens and introduced into Greek society allowing him to make his paintings of important personalities of the time, both in Athens and in Joannina where he portayed Ali Pascha, his family and attendants. He continued to Thessaly and from there he sailed to Constantinople, where he made the acquaintance of Prince Michael Soutzo of Moldavia with whom he returned to Italy via Romania.
Upon arriving in Constantinople his companions left quickly, frightened by an outbreak of the plague. Dupré, however, remained and completed a series of watercolors. Nevertheless, the Englishmen funded Dupré's entire trip in exchange for these drawings, of which the artist also made duplicates that he exhibited at the Salon of 1824.
His work " Voyage â Athènes et â Constantinople"was published in 10 livraisons, in Paris in 1825 through to 1837, consisting of 40 lithographs: portraits, costumes and views of Athenian antiquities, based upon these drawings.
[Colnaghi of London pirated 2 of the portraits of Ali Pascha and published them before Dupré.]

The work became synonymous with the Greek War of Independence. The image of Mitropolos, holding the Greek standard symbolizes the Greek victory.

Louis Dupré's" Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople "is a fascinating example of a travel book so contradictory it begs to be read against the grain. Taking the form of a costume album, it is based on notes and drawings made during the artist's voyage in the Ottoman Empire in 1819. However, the book was produced in France from 1825 to 1839, after the outbreak of Greek insurrections against Ottoman rule in 1821, a popular cause in France. This contextual gap between the moment of travel and the moment of production accounts for the work's contradictory aspects. It is overtly philhellenic, taking the side of the Greek rebels in their conflict with the Ottomans, seeing in the insurgence a revival of ancient ideals and culture. Yet key aspects of the work, particularly its costume images, tug against and undermine its underlying turcophobia and, ultimately, its nationalist, essentialist message of Hellenic regeneration. Dupré's colorful plates are striking and even hauntingly memorable, arresting the viewer's attention. His close-up depiction of boldly posed figures introduces an ambiguity into his travel account that belies its ideological frame. In particular, the costume images, resembling Ottoman-produced costume albums, implicitly celebrate a notion of empire-as-diversity that contradicts Dupré's nationalist text.
[Elizabeth Fraser, Ottoman Costume and Inclusive Empire: Louis Dupré in Ottoman Greece .Fashioning Identities symposium, Hunter College, NYC, October 2013]
Colas 916; Lipperheide 1434; Droulia 901; Navari/ Blackmer: 517; Sotheby's/Blackmer 559 357 by 452mm (14 by 17¾ inches)image withou title; page:440x570mm.   ref: 2865  €1500

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