Thursday, September 22, 2005

Eminent Curator Examines Girodet's Portrait "Black Apollo" at October 20 Lecture

Chestertown, MD, September 22, 2005 — Washington College's C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, in conjunction with the Department of Art, presents as part of the American Pictures Series, "Black Apollo in the French Revolution: Girodet's Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley," a lecture by Sylvain Bellenger, Chief Curator of the French Patrimony for the Government of France, Thursday, October 20, at 4:30 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Bellenger's lecture will examine Anne-Louis Girodet's 1797 portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley, a black soldier and statesman who was born into slavery in Senegal and later fought in the American, Haitian, and French Revolutions. Hailed for his genius and artistic rebellion, Girodet, more than any of his contemporaries, engendered a new aesthetic sensibility for history painting and established a unique style embodying refinement and sensuality. Girodet's paintings were described by one contemporary critic as having a "precision of drawing reminiscent of the masterpieces of antiquity, a fresh coloring, a studied effect, and a brush stroke at once generous, fluent, and delicate."

Sylvain Bellenger is the curator of the exhibition, "Romantic Rebel: The Art of Girodet," which opened this September at the Louvre and will travel thereafter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Bellenger served as the Paul J. and Edith Ingalls Vignos, Jr. Curator of European Paintings and Sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He is currently the Chief Curator of the National Heritage Department of the Direction des Musées de France and is affiliated with the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art.

The lecture is sponsored by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the Department of Art at Washington College. Drawing on the special historical strengths of Washington College and Chestertown, the C.V. Starr Center is dedicated to exploring the early republic, the rise of democracy, and the manifold ways in which the founding era continues to shape American culture.

News about upcoming events is available online at, or by calling Program Manager Kees de Mooy at 410-810-7156.

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