Historia y Arqueología Marítima

 

HOME

PINTURAS MARINAS

Indice Pinturas

EL Arte de Antoine Roux

 Durante los 10 siglos hasta que alcanzara su cenit, el diseño de los veleros no tuvo mucho progreso. Los buques continuaban siendo pesados y grandes no obstante sus altamente decorados castillos y sus muchas velas y banderas, y no fue hasta el término del siglo XVIII y principios del XIX que aparecieron, especialmente en el Mediterráneo buques a vela de cascos de líneas finas, construidos para velocidad. Su estilo fue mucho mas libre y la navegación a vela, como si estuviera ahora liberada, al fin se desplegó. Durante mas de medio siglo los veleros fueron exclusivamente responsables, a velocidades incomparables,  del trafico mundial de pasajeros y mercaderías.

Pero como una paradoja, al mismo tiempo que adquiria su mayor eficiencia, fue brutalmente destronada por los buques a vapor. Luego de declinar rápidamente en importancia, finalmente desapareció algunas décadas mas tarde.. No obstante, la vela tuvo su era gloriosa, su legendaria "Era Dorada", que se puede recordar ahora gracias al trabajo de muchos pintores marinos, como éste caso, de una familia de pintores de Marsella, los Roux.

Del padre al hijo y por mas de70 años registraron para nuestro placer, con gran exactitud y destreza, los perfiles, formas, estilos y comportamiento de todo tipo de embarcaciones.

Antoine, hijo de Joseph Roux, quien tenia un negocio en el puerto, nacio en Marsella en 1765. En ese tiempo los muelles eran muy distintos a los actuales, enfrentando hacia el sur y bien protegidos, eran algo asi como la cara al mar de Marsella. Este muelle estaba lleno de negocios ofreciendo una gran variedad de articulos. Stendahl lo describio asi, en su viaje de 1837:"Este muelle esta poblado por marineros y loros, y los bauprés de los barcos que llegan de America alcanzan para romper las ventanas del primer piso de los negocios".

Habia un negocio mas angosto que los demás, con el sello de Joseph Roux, Hidrografo del Rey, en un angulo del muelle en la esquina de la calle Reboul. Su vidriera estaba llena de octantes, compases, binoculares y cabos, y uno podía tambien adquirir cartas de navegacion y banderas.

Obligado desde temprano a ayudar a su padre en un negocio que le dejaba mucho tiempo libre, el joven Antoine no podia escapar de la influencia del medio ambiente en el que creció. Tenia un gran talento para dibujar y pasaba su tiempo observando y dibujando los diferentes barcos que se veian en Marsella: Brigs y buques de tres palos mercantes de diferentes nacionalidades, buques almacen hanseaticos o escandinavos, veleros típicamente del mediterráneo como hoppers de Arles, que venian rio abajo del Rhone trayendo paja, pinkies genoveses, buques de guerra de Marsella, rapidas feluccas y xebecs españolas, schooners americanos, elegantes polaccas griego-otomanas con su carga usual de cereales del Mar Negro, sin dejar de mencionar las corbetas y fragatas que llegaban tambien a puerto.

Pronto Antoine se convirtio en un experto de arquitectura naval, maniobras de veleros y velas y jarcias y adquirio talento y experiencia. Siempre conservo un cuaderno de notas y dibujaba elementos que exitaban su curiosidad con gran delicadez y destreza y sin usar ninguna heramienta, lo que le dio a sus dibujos una mayor naturalidad.

Los muchos cuadernos que se han recuperado que cubren los años entre 1785 y 1830 revelan la extraordinaria calidad de esos dibujos, a tal extremo que sus cuadernos son uno de los que mejor documentan esa era. En 1800 Roux añadio la pintura de buques, o retratos de buques.Ya que la fotografia no existía entonces, muchos capitanes y armadores le ordenaban reproducciones de sus buques. Tambien hizo recordatorios de agradecimiento de sobrevivientes de naufragios, que luego se colgaban en las iglesias (hay varios en la Capilla de Santa Ana en St. Tropez). Muchos capitanes, especialmente americanos, le encargaban retratos de sus buques y es por eso que se encuentran en Norteamerica muchos cuadros firmados "Roux".

Antoine Roux murio de colera en Marsela en 1835, dejo tres hijos, Mathieu Antoine (1799-1872), Frederic (1805-1870) y François Geoffroy (1811-1882). Hasta la muerte de François, o sea por casi un siglo, los Roux produjeron una enorme cantidad de maravillosos retratos que son un autentico documental de la evolucion de la flota velera durante ese periodo. En 1882, a la muerte de François, se organizo una exhibicion de sus cuadros y entonces se planeo hacer un museo en Marsella de la obra de Antoine y sus hijos, pero esto pronto se olvidó. Su trabajo fue olvidado a tal punto que era imposible encontrar compradores aun a precios muy bajos.

En 1939 se hiz la primera exhibicion retrospectiva de Roux en el Penobscote Marine Museum en Seasport, USA. Como podia un museo de EEUU tener tantos trabajos de los Roux, que no eran reconocidos en Francia?. Algunos museos y coleccionistas se habian interesado en el trabajo de la familia y comprado, entre 1918 y 1939, numerosos dibujos y pinturas.

Jean Meissonier organizó en 1955 la primera exhibicion francesa de los trabajos de los Roux y actualmente sus trabajos, especialmente de Antoine padre, es reconocido y apreciado por museos y coleccionistas.

Los dibujos y acuarelas que se muestran aqui fueron parte de la coleccion de Jean Meissonier, que fue publicado en formato de cuaderno de notas en 1968 y cuyo ejemplar Nº 1039 tenemos en la coleccion de Histarmar.

Carlos Mey, Enero 3 del 2011 

Pido disculpas a los lectores por los epígrafes en ingles, pero preferí dejar esos comentarios en su idioma original, ya que los nombres de velas, buques, etc, son muy dificiles de traducir y puede inducir a error. C. Mey

A small fishing-vessel said to be "Catalan", pulled out of the water. One can still come across this type of barque at Collioures and Port-Vendres in the south ol France. In this water-colour by Antoine Roux painted in 1796, the small back view of the fisherman suggests that the artist saved space in his sketchbook by making notes on pages of completed drawings.

Entitled "Ajax's Life Boat" in 1800, a small boat is shown plying between the anchored yacht Ajax and the shore, rigged with the earliest type of fore-and-aft sail. The Marseilles' bombard (bomb barge), La Volonté de Dieux drawn in 1816, is flying the white flag of the Restoration and seen running before the wind on a starboard tack.
The San Nicolo, a 400-ton polacca in 1806 seen drying out her sails. This painting from life by Antoine Roux was reproduced much later, as was often the case, by his son Francois. In 1882, just before his death, Francois painted a large water-colour of the same ship which is now the property of the Musee de la Marine in the Palais de Chaillot, Paris. These lean and graceful ships were solely used as grain transports between the Black Sea ports and Marseilles. Usually manned by expert crews, they were capable of quite high speeds. The San Nicolo is shown moored by the Island of Pomegue off Marseilles, at a time when quarantine restrictions were responsible for a small fleet anchored there. The crew have taken advantage of a quiet spell to hang out their laundry-

A "Catalan" fishing-boat painted in 1800, beached in a small Mediterranean harbour, not recognizable but probably to the west of Marseilles. Her three keels allow for an upright position ashore

Here is a Spanish felucca making port, possibly Genoa. Although the original water-colour dated 1830 describes the vessel as a felucca it is more probably a xebec, which nearly always carried three pole-masts rigged with lateen sails and a jib, whereas the felucca only had two masts. Also, xebecs were often armed and this picture shows two cannon forward. The long lateen yard is stowed over the length of the deck

This water-colour, dated 15th November, 1806, depicts Le Commerce de Paris at Toulon in the course of construction. She was a 110 cannon ship, typical of the naval architecture of the period
Once called Plan-Fourmigier, this old shipyard handed down its name to a street in the Marseilles district where it once stood, and was painted by Antoine Roux in 1809, This view shows the yard from the extreme left of the Old Port under Fort St. Nicholas to the location of the old careening dock which in turn, was replaced by the by-pass road tunnel under the Old Port. It is interesting to note that the vessel undergoing construction on the stocks has its stem facing towards the sea, which was not at all usual during this time. A small brig, doubtless of Ottoman-Greek origin, is here shown high and dry ready to undergo refitting. Her hybrid design is readily noticeable in this painting of 1796. A ship's hulk with mooring lines on the beach, drawn in 1799, This could be Catalonian, very near Marseilles. The tower on the left might be the pre-existent Fort Flanelle which would still have been standing at that time.

The Ligurienne, painted in 1799 during May and June, sometimes called the ninth month of the French Republic calendar, year V. She is a pole-masted brig of 300 tons, armed with 20 cannon of small calibre. She is shown here running free, a few points off the wind on a starboard tack, all sails set but with staysails in place of the mainsail. This water-colour can be compared with another on page 63 showing this ship in action with the British frigate Petrel. Francis Roux reproduced the Ligurienne as shown here in a larger composition depicting merchantmen armed as coast-guard vessels, also hanging in the Musée de la Marine, Paris.

La Boric, a very smart 60-cannon frigate, is depicted in the Marseilles roads, 12th April, 1807. Sails and yards are being reset as she goes on to a port tack. The subject of this 1806 painting is a becalmed privateer forced to make way partly by oar and also under tow from the ship's boat manned by the crew. She may have been the renowned La Babiole built at La Ciotat during the first years of the nineteenth century. The lines of her hull give no doubt as to the use for which she was designed This brigantine drawn 15th August, 1829, shows a transitional period in design. Here, she is running on a port tack under foremast sails helped by "bonnets" rigged to port
No name is given to this French frigate of 20 cannon in a picture of 1806. She is apparently casting off her moorings in a flat calm. The details of her rigging carrying the royals are interesting, as are the four rows of reefs in the topsails. .Antoine Roux has drawn the same Danish merchantman in two different positions in this picture dated 1809, as was his custom. In the three-quarter view the ship is shown tacking. Dated 1796, this picture shows an Ottoman-Greek xebec at anchor. The mixed rig of lateen and square sails appears to indicate a period of transition. The crew have rigged sails as awnings to protect themselves from the heat of the sun.
An armed bomb galliot shown anchored in the Old Port at Marseilles, opposite the Fort N,D, de la Garde, probably during the blockade of Marseilles, which would explain the nearly total absence of ships in the harbour . A British frigate built around the end of the eighteenth century, the 60-cannon Fame, anchored off Endoum, once called "en Doume";, one of the shoreside districts of Marseilles, To the left of the background in this water-colour painted 24th July, 1823, the outline of the old Fort N.D. de la Garde can be made out on the sky-line,
Danish three-master sailing close to the wind, 1809, On the right can be seen a small Spanish pink, which is related to the xebec but not so elegant of line. A Danish merchant brig of 1827, running into port under shortened sail, with only her jib and topsails hoisted. A typical French 40-cannon naval frigate in a painting dated 1799, tacking to port as she runs free,

The Duguaitrouin (sic) on the stocks during construction in 1790. To judge from her lines she certainly seems to have been designed for use as a privateer

In excellent weather, the frigate La Junon under Captain Rosamel glides along on a port tack, sailing close to the wind alongside another vessel on the same course. The water-colour gives the time as 10 o'clock in the morning and the date as 3rd March, 1823, A Spanish frigate depicted in 1830. Having brought her head up on a port tack, her principal sails and yards are braced forward.
The Ligurienne and the British corvette Petrel during an exchange of broadsides, 20th March, 1800 or the sixth month of French Republic calendar, year VIII. Both ships are across wind on a port tack. This study of the Ligurienne can be compared with that on page 37, An unknown Danish 3o-cannon corvette at anchor in a heavy swell, topmasts housed to diminish the strain on the ship caused by the wind; painted in 1799 This is an unidentified French 40-cannon frigate in 1830, sailing close to the wind, yards braced, on a port tack. She is off the small island and lighthouse of Planier, situated about 10 miles to the south west of Marseilles.
When mooring this magnificent American three-master it was necessary to bring her up, topsails backing and filling, as on the right-Left, the spanker is not furled but clewed up to the mast, not unlike a curtain. This water-colour is dated 1818. .A three-masted Swedish merchantman of 1827 under shortened sail : foresail, fore topsail, main topsail and mizzcn-topgallant. A British frigate under shortened sail scudding along before the wind, in a painting of 1830.

Este sitio es publicado por la Fundacion Histarmar - Argentina

Direccion de e-mail: info@histarmar.com.ar