Fine and Visual Arts; Prints; Etchings
Charles Meryon (1821-1868) was born in Paris, the son of a travelling English physician and a dancer at a Parisian opera house. After spending a few years in the French navy, he returned to Paris and began painting lessons. Meryon was born color-blind, however, a condition which disrupted his painting career and led him to study etching at the studio of Alexandre Bléry.
Meryon also suffered from mental illness throughout his life. His familiarity with poverty and melancholy shaped his artistic vision, and over the course of four years (1850-1854) he produced a series of twenty-two haunting and imaginative views of the streets, buildings, and bridges of Paris called "Eaux-fortes sur Paris."
This etching, a view of the Pont Neuf (built 1578-1607) across the river Seine, demonstrates Meryon’s desire to represent the misery and beauty of the city. It hung in the Blue Room of the Deanery along with other prints from the same series and etchings of the American artist, James McNeill Whistler.
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- Prints made from an etched printing plate, which is a metal plate on which a design is made by coating the plate with an acid-resistant substance, creating a design in the coating, and then exposing the plate to acid, which etches the plate where the metal is exposed. For designs incised directly into a copper plate using a burin or graver, use "engravings (prints)."
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