Baron Dominique-Vivant Denon

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Denon, Baron Dominique Vivant (1747–1825). French savant, he accompanied the Napoleonic expedition to Egypt (1798) as leader of the learned Commission on the Sciences and Arts that was to study Ancient Egyptian buildings and architecture and herald the birth of modern Egyptology. In 1802 he published his Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Égypte pendant les campagnes du général Bonaparte (Journey in Lower and Upper Egypt during the campaigns of General Bonaparte). An accurate source-book of Ancient Egyptian architecture, it had an extraordinary impact, triggering the C19 Egyptian Revival that at first was correctly described as ‘Egyptomania’, and was a major influence on Neo-Classicism. Denon was Director-General of Museums, and was in charge of the Musée Napoléon (now the Louvre). He supervised the design and production of the Sèvres Service Égyptien (a dinner-service sumptuously decorated with Ancient Egyptian themes and motifs), one of the high points of the Egyptian Revival, and was a major influence on the Empire style and on the work of Percier and Fontaine.


J. Curl (2005);
Denon (1802);
Humbert (1989);
Humbert (ed.), (1996);
Humbert,, Pantazzi,, & and Ziegler (1994);

views updated

Dominique-Vivant Denon, Baron (dōmēnēk´-vēväN bärôN´ dənôN´), 1747–1825, French artist, writer, and archaeologist. He had a brilliant career as an artist and diplomat during the ancien régime and followed Napoleon on his campaign in Egypt. In 1802 he became the director of the Louvre and two years later was named the first director-general of French museums. He was instrumental in bringing foreign masterpieces into the Louvre as the spoils of conquest. His accounts of his travels and his treatise on ancient monuments contain collections of his engravings of works of art. Denon was partly responsible for the design of the Vendôme Column, a monument to Napoleon. He was also the author of an elegant erotic novella, Point de Lendemain (1777, tr. No Tomorrow, 2003).