Louis-François Cassas (June 3, 1756 – November 1, 1827) was a distinguished French landscape painter, sculptor, architect, archeologist and antiquary born at Azay-le-Ferron, in the Indre Department of France.
In 1778 Cassas went to Rome, Venice, Naples and Sicily where he spent the first years of his youth in the study of ancient monuments. A commission in 1782 took him from Istria to southern Dalmatia, to make a series of illustrations of the antiquities on the east Adriatic coast.
In 1784 he accompanied the Count Choiseul-Gouffier, the French Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, on his mission to Constantinople. Commissioned by him, he travelled from 1784 to 1787 engaged in making drawings for the Ambassador's second volume of Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce, published in 1809. He visited Egypt from October to December 1785, and drew the antiquities of Alexandria, the pyramids of Giza and the mosques of Cairo. Shortly afterwards he made several drawings of Palmyra, in the desert of Syria, visited the Holy Land and illustrated the ruins of Baalbec in Lebanon. He also painted Palestine, Cyprus and Asia Minor, drawing ancient Middle Eastern sites, many of which had never been recorded.
At the beginning of the French Revolution, the artist returned to France via Rome, arriving in Paris in 1792. The originals of his works in oil paintings for both voyages were deposited in the Bibliothèque Royale.
At the turn of the eighteenth to nineteenth century, the artist had already combined his first observations of Egyptian monuments in a series of paintings which were very influential on many artists and stage designers in the early decades of the nineteenth century. He was appointed as drawing professor and later as General Inspector at the Gobelin Tapestry Manufactory, for contributing to the development of products from this factory.
He died in Versailles of a stroke of apoplexy, on November 1, 1827, invested with several orders of knighthood, including the Légion d'honneur, granted to him by the king on May 21, 1821. After his death Cassas was largely forgotten and his work was greatly neglected. In 1973, the government of Yugoslavia paid homage to Cassas issuing a postage stamp of the city of Split from one of his 1782 etchings called Vue de Spalatro et du Lazareth. More on Louis-François Cassas
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