Montserrat engraving album by Colonel Jean-Charles Langlois (1830)
Jean-Charles Langlois (Beaumont-en-Auge, Calvados, 1789 - Paris, 1870). In the 20s he was called up to the army of Napoleon and participated in the battles of Wagram (1809) and Waterloo (1815). After the war, he studied painting in the studio of Horace Vernet. In 1819 he was militarized again and sent by King Louis XVIII to Spain to strengthen the absolutism of Fernando VII. On this occasion Langlois visited Catalunya and based on the notes and studies that he took he published Voyage pintoresque et militaire en Espagne, Catalogne, accompagné de notes explicatives sur les batailles communiquées par MM le Maréchal Gouvion Saint-Cyr et les généraux Decaen, Lamarque, etc. Paris, 1826-1830, that includes 40 sheets and two pages of text. In connection with this album was released apart a reprint which we present now that has this editorial reference: Vues du Couvent et des Hermitages du Mont Serrat en Espagne, Paris, Ardit, Londres, Engelman, 1830, 12 làmines litogràfiques de 43,5 x 30 cm. Each sheet is marked with the embossed stamp of the press E. Ardit Paris.
This series is important to us because it is the most reliable and highest quality testimony of dilapidated Montserrat after the French War and provides a romantic view of the ruins, near to death but still struggling to resist the test of time. Nevertheless it should be noted that there are anachronisms and the composition includes fanciful alterations. But what really made famous Langlois and a master in the art history were the extraordinary panoramas of battles of Napoleon -in some of them he had participated personally. These scenarios, some of which are important parts of some military museums, were decisive to forge the legend of Napoleon during the nineteenth century.