FLANDIN, Eugène. L’Orient par Eugène Flandin…, Paris, Gide et J. Baudry, 1853.
Jean-Baptiste Eugène Napoléon Flandin (1809-1889) was a French Orientalist painter, pupil of Horace Vernet. Better known as Eugène Flandin, he was born in Naples and died in Tours. In 1837 Flandin accompanied the French expeditionary force to Algeria. In 1840, together with architect-archaeologist Pascal Coste, he participated in a mission to Persia, ostensibly aimed at strengthening political and economic ties between Paris and Teheran. The objectives of this mission were to collect as much information as possible on the country’s situation during the reign of Shah Mohammad Qajar and to record ancient monuments. Eventually the head of the mission, Édouard de Sercey, was called back to France, as he proved unable to deal with ongoing diplomatic intrigues. Flandin with his companion and their entourage continued their journey, in spite of adverse climatic conditions and well-nigh insurmountable difficulties in communicating with the local population and understanding their customs. The expedition returned to France two years later, having visited, "inter alia", the cities of Hamadan, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Chiraz, Persepolis, Mosul, Aleppo and also Constantinople.
In 1842 Flandin was decorated with the "Légion d'honneur" for his artistic and scientific work. In 1844 he returned to Mesopotamia, together with archaeologist Emile Botta, to search for the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh. For six months, Flandin drew sculptures and reliefs in the region, under very difficult circumstances. In 1851, he co-signed with E. Coste the six-volume "Voyage en Perse", and composed the two-volume account of his journey. He also published "L’Orient" (1853) and "The History of the Knights of Rhodes" (1864). In the latter years of his life he was mayor (1850-1866) in the region of Touraine and held various offices in the Prefecture of Tours.
Flandin’s artistic oeuvre began with the paintings he made in Italy. It includes historical subjects, depictions of ancient monuments, portraits and landscapes, expressed above all in the Orientalist spirit. From 1857 onwards he exhibited his works in the yearly Paris "Salons". Today, many of his paintings are to be found in museums in France, Belgium and elsewhere.
This edition includes forty lithographs with views and monuments of Constantinople, especially Galata and the Bosporus, as well as explanatory texts on the first thirty-one of these plates. Of special interest are the views of the Sea Walls of the Golden Horn, before the railway – terminus of the famed Orient Express – was constructed, and the wooden bridge at Galata, which was later replaced by the floating bridge, as well as the ruins of the Palace of Porphyrogennetos with other buildings that no longer exist.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou