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We present the story of a mass to another in a series of programs recounting the historical background. Of world famous artistic masterpieces. Little. Today Gianbattista paper on the wall paint a portrait of luck too. They were both full of talent. One lived in Paris and the other in the provinces. They had never met. They knew each other only through their works and admired each other immensely. They were also about the same age. One was called Moe he's gone down to LA to or simply let the official painter of the quarter friends his models were the most illustrious King Louis the Fifteenth the queen Madam the Pope I do all day
not evil in 1745. He was the rage of Paris. The other who was unknown but highly respected by his colleagues was called Gianbattista P. Holmdel. Oh and. A and. One morning in the year 1745 like two students were waiting for their master in his studio. They didn't have long to wait for he was just crossing the street. He was a charming elegant man very becoming in his White. How did Wigan and with a broad smile on his face. Slim and
athletic he bounded up the stairs for a time. He opened the door and burst into the room. My lads. Well I've just seen with my own eyes I can hardly speak. Well there has been an accident. Bad news. No nothing wrong I've just had the most extraordinary experience. I'd like to be able to share it with you. Words are enough. To express the impression I've just had. When you develop what did you like that. Well when you see things like that it was so beautiful. It's like a dream. Painting my lad what a subject what it gave us those eyes. They follow you. Poor pain poor tired eyes filled with suffering unable to speak. Where is the line. Tell us what a painting by Rembrandt. His Majesty just received it. It's a portrait of an old man. Well believe me you may all be painters and I think I am a painter too but never never paint an old man full of thought.
That. Is for Rembrandt. Hope we get a young and frivolous people. But you have painted lots of portraits of people thinking and they're very beautiful. Oh those are portraits of people thinking about stupid things about their lace their must die or their hair or their sword. That's easy. They are so happy with themselves and why not. They are happy they're rich. Some of them are handsome and most of them are full of vanity. What about this portrayed the monster. This isn't a rich man. Yeah this poor man but he's laughing. No no my lad. Look you must not try to compare me with Rembrandt. That would be kind of neither for him nor for me. But what is there so extraordinary about it. Well let me see now how can I explain what I mean look if someone comes to see me and asked me to paint
his portrait. Well I let him adopt whatever pose he wants. All I do in fact is copy No that's turning on you go yes yes listen to me I'm all right. I may copy well but I still copy when the minister of finance asked me to go to his home to sketch the painting that you all know. He just sat down on the arm of the chair. What did I do. I drew the minister on the arm of the chair that's all. Well what would Rembrandt I've done. Ah what would Rembrandt have done anything save that he doesn't know his models. But he fills them with nobility. He ignores them he forgets them completely. But all my fine ladies and gentlemen the ones I paint I paint them and as they are their stupid I make them look stupid. They're rich. I make them look rich. And the portrait is like the model perhaps but then all Rembrandt portraits resemble
their models. Well then you haven't understood his genius is that he gives nobility to all he touches when he painted his brother. And it really looks like his brother believe me. He turned him into a savage Royer. If he paints his son it's the whole of youth that he paints he paints an old Jew. It's the whole Jewish race that he paints. And the sad old man that I have just seen is the portrait of all sad old men. No never forget that Rembrandt isn't comparable. He's unique. Now that's enough. Nor more talk of Rembrandt for the moment. We have work to do. Show me what you done while I was gone. That's very good. Thank you Mr. And I'd done the sketch too. You would thank me too quickly my boy your sketch is a failure. Hole. Come
now don't pull a face like that it's not serious. But you have talent that's all that matters. Now that's very good indeed. Who did that. I did that sir. Good my boy good. Do you always draw before painting. Yes master. Did you draw that. No. Of course you didn't. You guessed of course. But how was very simple it's obvious but it's very good. Then we can cannot do without drawing what you can do anything you like my boy as long as you don't do a bad painting. But you draw well not very often. If fact hardly ever I am of the time then I can see the face I want to paint there on the canvas in front of me. What about colors. Do you think of your color your hand or does it come naturally from the subject. Color well that lad's color is the main thing that's where I begin. That is why I haven't the time to draw.
They said that you did the portrait of Madame de Pompadour in two sittings. That's true. Then yes that's true all right. I had to. He just wouldn't keep still. She'd been sad for example it would have lasted much longer. Why I don't understand. Well when you paint said people they can stay still for hours their faces never move. They're sad and that's about all you can say except that after an hour that is sadder than before. But a woman who laughs Oh she can't laugh all the time she gets tied that's true. You Can we put you for hours now as a daisy. Yes. Which dad left her out here. Show me your way. They are most charming Yes charming. The three old men are wonderful and I think yes there's this drawing now. You do all people. Well. I shan't any longer sir not after what you told us about Rembrandt. Oh I was just joking. Do just what you want as long as you work of course.
You have made a lot of progress and very pleased with your work. You know the best lessons come from looking at the paintings of others not only good paintings either. The not so good even the bad ones. You must learn what NOT to do. Yes lads you can learn a new lesson every day in everyday things. I for example I'm learning a lesson at this very minute. How so. This drawing here oh it's it's quite a good one. Well it's just taught me that one never makes the arm a sharp enough when it seemed from the front. What you must do is this. Anyone got a pencil. You know that thanks. Watch. Yes of course yeah of course it looks obvious doesn't it now that it's done. Where did you find the lad who posed for that picture in the street. Bring him along one day he's got a charming face. He spends his whole day playing marbles perhaps he's there now. Well have a
look and see. Yes not bad. You know as you know I mean yes I think I mean. Who is the boy just a boy who lives in the quarter. Poor. Yes I'm afraid he is I said terrible things wouldn't shouldn't have poor children. One is often poor when one small. He might be rich one day who knows. I know what you're thinking you're thinking the master can talk. He's rich and he hasn't any children. Oh sorry really I don't know you're right of course. Forgive me I never had any children when I was poor. Now I'm too old. All that's not that's nonsense. There you are. Come over here. Master may I present a little gentle. A little well who knows how humans you know through this you know me. No but I had my father arguing with one of his friends
about you about me. Yes my father's friend said that you were lazy to shut up shop but leave him alone now. He said I was lazy. Yes I have but my father got very angry. He said that if you prefer a painting to working then that's your business. Your father said the duty. Well he's quite right you know. Now stand over there. I am going to do your part. Oh but I want to go and play oh just five minutes that's all. Look at me. That's right. Now don't be serious. Yes laugh if you like that's there. What if I don't want to live. All right but I bet you know how to pull faces. I go up all sticking out your tongue that's not making a face. I used to post some pretty good faces when I was a boy. How about that you know that one.
Don't do both to close your mouth and that face can you do that. To keep your mouth open Don't move. Wonderful. You're not bored. That laugh again. BI listen would you like to come back tomorrow. We promise we'll be full faces again. Yes I promise. Here take this. Why do you give me money That's what I owe you for for proposing and you pay for that. Well it depends. Thank you sir. I shall tell my father you gave me money to make faces. That's right that's right. Come back tomorrow now. They already say I'm lazy. Now they'll say I spoil children. He's a wonderful child. You certainly spot him sir. Nonsense.
You'll learn later. There are two sorts of models for painting. Those who choose you and those you choose some must pay for the others right now leave me alone all of you I have work to do this year to Voltaire wants his portrait and I have no where near finished yet. Come back tomorrow lads buy you and make some sketches in the street this street is the best school believe make them. Back to work. Here a nice crowd. Young.
Only I could give them. Some of the flame which is burning in me and which is lacking in them. All will find it some day. They're young they want to have fun. Their age. Why do I listen to my feelings. I go and have a walk myself. Nothing very amusing. Sitting in front of a portrait of all day. What a man face to death's head. A real mommy. The eyes are the only living things there but they really do live. It's like glowing embers. It's easy to put them in that mask of a face. Madame Dupont I do know. Well she was a lot nicer to look at. Then who knows when I'm going to be paid for this. There's a real
miser if you want. He's rich and I have a nose. Still that's work. Glory glory. Come on then to do. Let's go on with this work. Come on you have time to think. Plenty of time to think afterwards that it was there. Oh come on whoever you are. You look to see a lot to who is busy. Well wait what do you want wedding. I should like to see him. You have good eyesight. Not as good as it is but not bad. Do you know who I am. Yeah someone who has left the door open I'll catch cold. I've heard that this unit too has a rather strange person. If you
think it is strange not to like being disturbed when one is working by people who leave doors open then you may say that was your life too is strange. You seem to know him pretty well. Let's say that he is my oldest and most trusted friend. I've also heard that he's rather grumpy. You seem to hear a lot of things my friend. He may be grumpy when he is disturbed and what disturbs him the most. Wasting his time at this very moment. If he were in my shoes he would be in a very bad mood. Oh I hardly think so. By me assure you. If I know him he would be quite capable of throwing you out. Oh come now sir you're exaggerating. That would be rude and misty eyed lad too is a very courteous man. Now do you know you can see it on his face his
face. So you want serious. You say you know Latour. No certainly not but I've seen this portrait portrait. Yes sir his self-portrait. I have wept with joy before such a painting. That's very kind of you but I am still surprised that you should say that you have seen this portrait. Why. Because well if you had seen it I would have recognized you. Of course Master I recognize you just as I recognize you when all the paintings you have ever done. You are inimitable just impossible to see one of your paintings without saying that's a lot too. Oh my dear sir when I was at the court of Saxony I saw the great portrait of the princess. I said that salad too and in Toulouse when I saw the portrait of Mr. there I said that too when I saw your self portrait the other day I said that slid by too.
You are very observant shall we say that I am able to recognize genius for you are a genius. The most illustrious painter we have heard. Come now you exaggerate No no it was your portrait which decided me to come and see why when I looked at your portrait I thought there is a man of genius. But above all a man of his mouth smiles his eyes live. He seems full of wit and he has great presence now as they say I am presentable. He will certainly receive me. Give me a few minutes even if I disturb him. That is what I thought. You wouldn't by any chance be trying to give me a lesson in politeness to give you a lesson. No sir. That's good because I sometimes give lessons. But I don't take them. Give me a lesson. I beg your pardon.
Give me a painting lesson or your joke. No I assure you all I'm asking is that you show me how to paint or rather how you paint. But but I'm quite willing to serve as your model. I didn't ask for anything I know. But I've come a very long way to have my portrait done by law too. Well you flatter me but I'm not used to painting just like that to other people. They usually make a point. Now you're lying. That is not very nice. Oh oh dear you say such a thing. Because I can see it in your eyes that you are dying to do my part. Well of course you must agree that you approve of the POWs that I have assumed that my Venetian lace collar will form a fine effect and at the moment you have just seen that you will need a little violence to render my eyes properly. Am I wrong. You're right. How did you know.
It's just that I have great admiration for your work. All right. Don't you open your collar just a bit there. That's good then your head just a little. That's not you know I'll admit that you are an extremely good model. Do you often pose. Well no not exactly but I often watch people posting. Really how is that one of my friends is a painter. Oh yes. What's his name. I don't suppose his name will mean much to you. He's a provincial. But but you're his idol. His name is John but at least they all know they will know you no tell no. Why didn't you say that before. I didn't suppose it would interest you. Well he's bursting with talent. Please tell him that I also admire him very
much and you will tell him for me won't you. It is as if you were telling him yourself why doesn't he ever come to pass. I should be delighted to meet him. You said a moment ago that you could recognize my paintings. Anyway well I could recognize a battle no even better. Are you sure it's not my custom to exaggerate. That's enough. Now be quiet. Now I I want to paint your mouth. If you move it all the time how can I. May I ask you a question really. How do you expect me to paint if you keep your mouth moving. But it's a question of money. We haven't mentioned any price for this portrait. If you say another word I shall throw my brushes out of the window. Well if I wanted to paint you it was because I wanted to. That's all. I'm not a merchant. You stop. That's good. Now what are you doing. If you never heard tell no Teles models at the most elementary politeness is to keep still while they're being painted.
Indeed and I would like to ask you to keep it. Will you please put that paper down. What are you doing. If you wouldn't mind keeping still just a few moments so that I may do your portrait of my point. Are you out of your mind. Please don't move. Elementary politeness you know. I'll show you. Put that down. You're mad. Give me that now. Certainly they are. Look. Oh it can't be. Yes no no. And that was how zone by piece did his wonderful portrait of left to the pride of the Museum of sand contact.
The French provincial museums are often full of treasures. They're not willing to give them up either and very often even the loser who cannot persuade them to part with them. As for the portrait of John Battista behold nobody like to it is now in the hands of an American collector who wouldn't part with it for anything in the world. The end. Perhaps the two paintings will come together one day and perhaps once again three centuries later the Gianbattista belong to and among the scant and that I too will come face to face with each other as they did on that day in 1745 when they did each other's paintings.
The old. Boy. The Lord. If. You've been listening to the story of a masterpiece. Today is all about that there are no paints the portrait of LA to with Lyall Joyce and David Ellis in the title rules. With Carol Jonathan beer and Ben Smith This program was written by Patrice gullable adapted into English by Philip gaunt and directed by Pierre Christiano and that it came to you transcribed from the ORTF the French broadcasting system in Paris. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
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The story of a masterpiece
J.B. Perroneau: Portrait of de La T
Producing Organization
French Cultural Services
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3409. This prog.: J.B. Perroneau: Portrait of de La Tour
Fine Arts
Media type
Producing Organization: French Cultural Services
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-22-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:26:02
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Chicago: “The story of a masterpiece; J.B. Perroneau: Portrait of de La T,” 1968-07-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “The story of a masterpiece; J.B. Perroneau: Portrait of de La T.” 1968-07-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: The story of a masterpiece; J.B. Perroneau: Portrait of de La T. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from