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Vivant Denon, portrait by Dutertre (1798-9)
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Portrait of Vivant Denon, drawn by Dutertre
(Louis Reybaud, Histoire de l’expédition française en Égypte, Paris 1830-36, vol.8.)


Dominique Vivant, Baron Denon (1747 – 1825) was a French artist, diplomat, and author.   In the 1770s he was appointed by Louis XV to organize a cabinet of medals and antique gems for Madame de Pompadour, and the French king subsequently appointed him attaché to the French embassy at St. Petersburg. He later served as a diplomat in Sweden, Switzerland, and Italy.

In 1798 he was invited by Bonaparte to join the French expedition as an artist of the Institut d'Égypte. In 1799 he accompanied General Desaix to Upper Egypt, and made numerous sketches of the monuments at Dendera and other sites. 

The results were published in 2 volumes in 1802, the first publication of the findings of the French Expedition, entitled Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte (Journey in Lower and Upper Egypt). After the Egyptian campaign ended in 1801, Denon was appointed by Napoleon as the first Director of the newly founded Louvre museum.

This profile drawing of Denon was made by Andre Dutertre, another of the artists on the French expedition in Egypt, in 1798 or 1799.
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