Louis Janmot

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Anne-François-Louis Janmot
Louis Janmot - Portrait de l'artiste.jpg
Louis Janmot (self-portrait, 1832)
Born(1814-05-21)21 May 1814
Lyon, France
Died 1 June 1892(1892-06-01) (aged 78)
Lyon, France
Nationality French
Education Royal College of Lyon
École des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
Spouse(s) Leonie Saint-Paulet (1855-1870)
Antoinette Currat (1885-1892)

Anne-François-Louis Janmot (21 May 1814 – 1 June 1892) was a French painter and poet.


Early years

Janmot was born in Lyon, France of Catholic parents who were deeply religious. He was extremely moved by the death of his brother in 1823 and his sisters in 1829. He became a student at the Royal College of Lyon where he met Frederic Ozanam and other followers of his philosophy professor, Abbe Noirot. In 1831 he was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and a year later, he won the highest honor, the Golden Laurel. In 1833, he came to Paris to take painting lessons from Victor Orsel and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. With other Lyon painters, he entered the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. In 1835, he went to Rome with Claudius Lavergne, Jean-Baptiste Frenet and other students and met Hippolyte Flandrin.

Lyon Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.

École des Beaux-Arts influential art schools in France

An École des Beaux-Arts is one of a number of influential art schools in France. The most famous is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, now located on the left bank in Paris, across the Seine from the Louvre, at 14 rue Bonaparte. The school has a history spanning more than 350 years, training many of the great artists in Europe. Beaux Arts style was modeled on classical "antiquities", preserving these idealized forms and passing the style on to future generations.

Victor Orsel French painter

(André Jacques) Victor Orsel was a French painter. A student of Pierre Révoil in Lyon then of Pierre-Narcisse Guérin in Paris, he then spent 7 years at the villa Médicis in Rome (1822–29), where he worked in the orbit of Overbeck and the Nazarene movement, and copied the Italian 'primitives', leaving his own art with an archaising tendency. He died unmarried.

After his return to Lyon in 1836, Janmot would attract the attention of critics of the Salon de Paris in conducting large-scale paintings with religious inspiration such as The Resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain (1839) or Christ in Gethsemane (1840). After 1845, he attracted the interest of Charles Baudelaire with his painting Flower of the Fields that allowed him to access to the Salon of 1846. Theophile Gautier was impressed by his Portrait of Lacordaire (1846). But the failure of his Poem of the Soul at the Universal Exhibition of 1855 disappointed him. In December of that year he married Leonie Saint-Paulet, from a noble family in Carpentras.

Charles Baudelaire French poet

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe.

<i>Flower of the Fields</i> painting by Louis Janmot

Flower of the Fields is an 1845 painting on wood by Lyon artist Louis Janmot. It was acquired in 1893 by the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon where it has been conserved.

Exposition Universelle (1855)

The Exposition Universelle of 1855 was an International Exhibition held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris from 15 May to 15 November 1855. Its full official title was the Exposition Universelle des produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855. Today the exposition's sole physical remnant is the Théâtre du Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées designed by architect Gabriel Davioud, which originally housed the Panorama National.

In 1856, Janmot obtained a commission to paint a fresco (since destroyed) representing the Last Supper for the church of St. Polycarp. Other orders followed, including the decoration of the dome of the Church of St. Francis de Sales and for the town hall that had been renovated by his friend the architect T. Desjardins. He was then appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts.

Last Supper episode in the New Testament

The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper is commemorated by Christians especially on Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "Holy Communion" or "The Lord's Supper".

In Paris and Toulon

Surprisingly, Janmot moved to Paris in 1861 after having been promised a commission for the Church of St. Augustine, but this project was abandoned three years later. In experiencing significant family and financial problems, Janmot accepted a professorship at the Dominican School of Arcueil. At that time, in his home in Bagneux, he made many portraits of the members of his family (only photographs are currently available).

Bagneux, Hauts-de-Seine Commune in Île-de-France, France

Bagneux is a commune in the southern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 7.7 km (4.8 mi) from the center of Paris.

After the birth of her seventh child in August 1870, his wife died in Bagneux. While the Prussian troops approached and occupied his home, he fled to Algiers with his stepfather and made landscape paintings. He returned in June of the following year in Paris and led a solitary life. His house in Bagneux had been looted. In 1878, he produced a fresco in the chapel of the Franciscans in the Holy Land, but this work was not followed by any further order.

Algiers City in Algiers Province, Algeria

Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria. In 2011, the city's population was estimated to be around 3,500,000. An estimate puts the population of the larger metropolitan city to be around 5,000,000. Algiers is located on the Mediterranean Sea and in the north-central portion of Algeria.

Faced with family and increasing financial problems, Janmot came to Toulon, and despite some orders (new Portrait of Lacordaire (1878, Museum of Versailles), Rosaire (Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 1880), Martyrdom of St. Christine (Solliès-Pont, 1882), he lived a retired life. He finished the second part of the Poem of the Soul that the patron and former industrial Félix Thiollier was willing to publish.

Toulon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Toulon is a city in southern France and a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye Subprefecture and commune in Île-de-France, France

Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France in north-central France. It is located in the western suburbs of Paris, 19.1 km (11.9 mi) from the centre of Paris.

Solliès-Pont Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Solliès-Pont is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.

In 1885, Janmot married a former student, Antoinette Currat, and returned to Lyon. He made charcoal drawings on the theme of the underworld, which can be regarded as a kind of continuation of the Poem of the Soul, including Purgatory (1885) and The End of Time (1888). In 1887 was published in Lyon and Paris an over 500-page book entitled Opinion of an artist on art and includes articles previously written by Janmot. He died five years later at the age of 78.

Art style

L'Assomption de la Vierge Louis Janmot - L'assomption de la Vierge.jpg
L'Assomption de la Vierge

Janmot has been seen as a transitional figure between Romanticism and Symbolism, prefiguring the French part of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; his work was admired by Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, and Maurice Denis. [1]

Like Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, another painter from Lyon and student of Ingres, Janmot carried out many commissions for church decorations. In his paintings the immaculate finish of Ingres was combined with a mysticism that has parallels in the work of his contemporaries the Nazarenes and the Pre-Raphaelites. [1]


Poem of the Soul

His most significant work, a cycle of 18 paintings and 16 drawings, with verse, called The Poem of the Soul , occupied him for 40 years.

First part : the paintingsSecond part : the drawings
1.Génération divine19.Solitude
2.Le Passage des âmes20.L’Infini
3.L’Ange et la mère21.Rêve de feu
4.Le Printemps22.Amour
5.Souvenir du ciel23.Adieu
6.Le Toit paternel24.Le Doute
7.Le Mauvais Sentier25.L’Esprit du Mal
9.Le Grain de blé27.Sans Dieu
10.Première Communion28.Le Fantôme
11.Virginitas29.Chute fatale
12.L’Échelle d’or30.Le Supplice de Mézence
13.Rayons de soleil31.Les Générations du Mal
14.Sur la Montagne32.Intercession maternelle
15.Un Soir33.La Délivrance, ou vision de l’avenir
16.Le Vol de l’âme34.Sursum Corda

Other works

Flower of the Fields (1845) Janmot-Louis Fleur-des-champs 1500px.jpg
Flower of the Fields (1845)



  1. 1 2 Turner, 2000, p. 258.

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