Medium: Oil On Canvas
Size: 47 x 38.1 cm
Signed: T.T. 1816
New York, Private Collection.
Paris, Salon 1817, no. 730: ‘Cour intérieure du Château de Wuflens près du Lac de Genève. Des Croisés partent pour la terre Sainte, un évêque bénit leur armes.’; New Orleans, New York and Cincinnati, Romance and Chivalry: History and Literature Reflected in Early Nineteenth Century Painting, 1996-97, no. 54.
The artist shifted comfortably between a classical and mediaeval idiom in his historical view paintings, such as this one of the castle of Wuflens (also spelled Vufflens) near Geneva in Switzerland. Turpin knew the area well, having visited Switzerland in 1803 and again in 1810 when he traveled there with Empress Josephine, for whom he executed a series of paintings and an album of drawings, presently preserved at Malmaison. The castle, which still exists, was built between 1395 and 1430 by Henry of Colombier, vassal of a Savoy Duke. It is an example of military brick architecture with a massive ‘donjon,’ four square towers, a living area with half-rounded towers, and an interior courtyard.
In this painting Turpin de Crissé combined his interest in architecture with his love of troubadour subject matter, the pageantry of the return of crusader knights to the blessing of Church and home. With its engaging combination of symmetrical architecture and the delicate flurry of detail below, the picture epitomizes the particularly early nineteenth-century confluence of neoclassical style and romantic subject.