Portrait de Luigi Fantuzzi di Belluno
An album in the Musée Napoléon in Rome contains a series of portraits drawn from life, with a technique very similar to this one in the Musée Magnin. They are often accompanied – as is this one – by handwritten notes, one of which leads us to believe that it was executed during the Siege of Genoa in 1800. The subjects in the portraits, from various places in Italy, are probably patriots who had come to join the French troops during the Revolution. It is likely that the young beardless men with unkempt hair were Wicar’s fellow adventurers during the Napoleonic Wars.
At the beginning of the 19th century, this artist from Lille began a brilliant career as a portraitist, revealed in dozens of drawings in charcoal or, as here, in pencil, characterised by incisive lines and regular hatching to enhance the face. The artist subtly evokes the model’s facial expression, personality and state of mind.