Marie-Jeanne-Angélique Levol

From SiefarWikiEn

Jump to: navigation, search

Entry by Margaret Denton, 2003

Angélique Mongez, born Marie-Jeanne-Angélique Levol at Conflans-l'Archevêque, near Paris, on May 1, 1775, was the daughter of Marcel-Sulpice Levol and Marie-Louise Papillon. She died in Paris on February 20, 1855. In 1793 she married Antoine Mongez (1747-1835), an archaeologist and numismatist who became director of the Mint in 1804. In 1803 they had a son, Irénée-Alexandre, who died in 1808. Antoine Mongez, a former priest, was a strong supporter of the Revolution. He was a close friend and political ally of the painter Jacques-Louis David and Jean-Paul Marat. In the 1790s Angélique Mongez was a student of Jean-Baptiste Regnault and then David, both recognized as leaders of the French school of painting. She exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1802, and exhibited regularly at the Salons until 1827. She was awarded the only first prize gold medal at the Salon of 1804, and received a gold medal again in 1827.

Angélique Mongez was the first woman to exhibit a large historical composition at the Salon. History painting was ranked first in the hierarchy of genres because of its capacity to instruct and inspire noble thoughts through its representation of human actions. Study of the nude, which in theory was not available to women, was the basis for history painting, and thus this genre was considered to be an exclusively male domain. Angélique Mongez benefitted from David's instruction, in particular, and the liberal admission policy of the Salons enacted during the Revolution. Astyanax Torn from his Mother, which she exhibited at the Salon of 1802, provoked much discussion among the critics. The Journal des Arts declared that the painting ranked among the finest works of the modern French school. Nevertheless, other critics attributed the most beautiful parts of Astyanax to David. In the Journal des débats Jean-Baptiste Boutard wrote: "It is generally agreed that the painting is, in more than one part, by the master's hand". At the following Salon (1804) she exhibited another large history painting, Alexander Mourning the Death of the Wife of Darius, which was awarded a gold medal. Again there were those who praised Madame Mongez's accomplishments and others who increasingly rejected the idea of a woman history painter. Her very large painting, Theseus and Pirithous, which was shown at the Salon of 1806, was purchased by Prince Youssoupoff, a noted Russian collector of French paintings in the neo-classical style. However, the painting was very much criticized because the male figures were nude. The fact that she was a woman was deemed incompatible with history painting because it compromised her modesty. More than one critic suggested that Madame Mongez give up history painting and paint subjects that were more in keeping with her sex. She did not. Angélique Mongez continued to exhibit history paintings at the Salons until 1827 and continued to paint history subjects after that date, including a Christ on the Cross (1854), which was commissioned for the church of Saint Peter in Charenton and completed a year before her death.

Acknowledged in passing as David's student in late nineteenth-century texts and twentieth-century accounts of the period, Angélique Mongez has received more critical attention since the late 1990s. She has figured in several articles and books that seek to demonstrate the activities of women artists in the period following the French Revolution. More specifically, scholars have examined the conditions that allowed Angélique Mongez to become a history painter despite the conservatism of the period.


- 1802 (Salon) : Astyanax arraché à sa mère [Astyanax Torn from his Mother], non localisé _ gravure publiée dans C. Landon, Annales du musée, vol. 4, 1803, pl. 36.
- 1804 (Salon) : Alexandre pleurant la mort de la femme de Darius [Alexander Mourning the Death of the Wife of Darius]. Non localisé.
- 1804 : Publication du Recueil d'antiquités par Antoine Mongez. Les 380 figures qui ornent les quatre volumes sont dessinés par Angélique Mongez.
- 1806 (Salon) : Thésée et Pirithoüs, purgeant la terre des brigands [Theseus and Pirithous Rescuing Two Women from Bandits]. Archangel'skoe palace, près de Moscou.
- 1808 (Salon) : Orphée aux enfers [Orpheus in Hades ]. Non-localisé _ gravure publiée dans C. Landon, Salon de 1808, 1808, I, pl. 50-51.
- 1810 (Salon) : La mort d'Adonis [The Death of Adonis]. Non-localisé _ gravure publiée dans C. Landon, Salon de 1810, 1810, pl. 53.
- 1812 (Salon) : Persée et Andromède [Perseus and Andromeda]. Non-localisé _ gravure publiée dans C. Landon, Annales du musée, 1812, I, pl. 61.
- 1814 (Salon) : Mars et Vénus [Mars and Venus]. Non-localisé _ copie faite en 1841 : Angers, Musée des Beaux-Arts.
- 1815 : Portrait du roi Louis XVIII [Portrait of King Louis XVIII]. Tours, Musée des Beaux-Arts.
- 1819 (Salon) : Saint Martin partage son manteau pour en couvrir un pauvre [Saint Martin Sharing His Cloak with a Beggar], Notre-Dame de Grâces, Cotignac [Var].
- 1826, 1827 (Salon) : Les sept chefs devant Thèbes [The Seven Theban Leaders]. Angers, Musée des Beaux-Arts.
- 1838 : Portrait d'Alexandre-Auguste Ledru-Rollin [Portrait of Alexandre-Auguste Ledru-Rollin]. Paris, Musée Carnavalet.
- 1838 : La Mort de Darius [The Death of Darius]. Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts.
- 1854 : Le Christ en croix [: Christ on the Cross]. Non-localisé; commandé pour l'église de Saint Pierre à Charenton.

Selected bibliography

- Denton, Margaret. "A Woman's Place: The gendering of genre in post-revolutionary French Painting", Art History, 21, 1998, p.219-246.
- Doy, Gen. Women and Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century France, 1800-1852. London and N.Y., Leicester University Press, 1998.
- Neues allgemeines Künstler Lexikon, 10, 1907, p.461-63.
- 'Nouvelle Biographie générale, 35, 1861.
- Oppenheimer, Margaret. Women Artists in Paris: 1791-1814. Ph. D. dissertation, Institute of Fine Arts, New York, 1996.

Selected bibliography of images

Jacques-Louis David, Portrait d'Antoine Mongez et de sa femme, 1812. Paris, Musée du Louvre [1]

Marie-Jeanne-Angélique Levol
Spouses Antoine Mongez
Birth date 1775
Death 1855
Biographical entries in old dictionaries
Personal tools
In other languages