“Vive L’Empereur” by Edouard Detaille depicts the cavalry charge of the 4th Hussars during the Battle of Friedland. The battle took place 84 years before this painting was created.
In this Battle of Friedland, which took place on 14 June 1807, the French army under the command of Napoleon won decisively against a Russian army. The battle took place in the territory of Friedland, which was part of East Prussia and now part of modern-day Russia. Historians regard the Battle of Friedland as one of the most brilliant victories of Napoleon during the heyday of the French Empire.
The 4th Hussar Regiment (4e régiment de hussards) is a hussar regiment in the French Army, created in 1783 and still in existence. The hussars played an important role as cavalry in the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815). The uniforms worn by Napoleonic hussars featured a colourful, stable jackets adorned with braiding, often gold or silver for officers and rows of multiple buttons. The French hussar of the Napoleonic period was armed with a brass-hilted sabre, a carbine, and sometimes with a brace of pistols.
Most of the great European powers introduced hussar regiments and as light cavalrymen, they fought skirmish battles. The armies of France, Austria, Prussia, England, and Russia had included hussar regiments since the mid-18th century.
Among the many other masterpieces and historical objects in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the following are some highlights:
- “Bailed Up” by Tom Roberts
- “Cymon and Iphigenia” by Lord Frederic Leighton
- “Summer Time” by Rupert Bunny
- “The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon” by Edward Poynter
- “Vive L’Empereur” by Edouard Detaille
- Title in English: Long live the Emperor – Charge of the Fourth Hussars at the Battle of Friedland, June 14, 1807
- Title in French: Vive L’Empereur charge du quatrième hussards à la bataille de Friedland, 14 juin 1807,
- Artist: Edouard Detaille
- Dates: 1891
- Materials: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 445.0 cm × 512.5 cm (175.2 in × 201.77 in)
- Museum: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Artist Essential Facts:
- Name: Edouard Detaille
- Born: 1848 – Paris, France
- Died: 1912 (aged 64) – Paris, France
- Nationality: French
- Major Paintings:
- The Defense of Champigny (1879)
- Le Rêve (1888)
“Art is an illusion of spontaneity.” Japanese Proverb
Photo Credit: Édouard Detaille [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons