The siege of La Rochelle
ordered by Richelieu

Reproduction of the work of Henri-Paul Motte (1846-1922)
Oil on canvas. 18”x15” 8F (46 x 38cm)



The siege of La Rochelle by Henri Motte
The siege of La Rochelle by Henri Motte - zoom
Painting by Henri-Paul Motte (1846-1922)
The aim is to make a reproduction of the original "The siege of La Rochelle" painted by Henri-Paul Motte in 1881 following opposite.
I decided to frame it in the portrait and landscape formats on Cardinal Richelieu.

The original of this painting measures 75” (1,90m) by 44” (1,12m) and is exposed at the Museum of Orbigny in La Rochelle (France).

A little history...
The siege of La Rochelle was ordered by Louis XIII and led by Richelieu. It started on September 10 1627 and ended with the surrender of the city on 28 October 1628.


Click images to enlarge

Roughing carbon and monochrome

The first 5 hours - 20 to 27 march

Work on canvas 8-F 18”x15” (46x38cm) format.
The main features of the model were carried over the canvas with carbon paper.
I applied an ocher background to the whole canvas, the color found in several places of the background of the original.

Avancement des pieux et mâts de renforts de la digue

7,5 hours of work - april 3

Progress stakes and poles of the dyke reinforcements.

Historical background: the dyke which stands Richelieu measure 1,500 meters in length, 16 meters in width, and 20 meters in heigth.
It was intended to prevent British ships from coming to the rescue of the Rochellais by sea.

Advancement of cape of Cardinal Richelieu

8,5 hours of work - april 11

Advancement of cape of Cardinal Richelieu with Alizarin color crimson diluted with the medium.
Adding black and white and different shades.



The cape of Cardinal Richelieu - 2nd step

11 hours of work - april 24

A light color of the cape is not good because I have mixed Alizarin crimson directly with white and I put in some medium.

The lack of medium makes the colors opaque and the effect of yellow background is lost, giving a bad pink.

Difficult to gauge the medium exactly right!

The cape of Cardinal Richelieu - 2rd step

12,5 hours of work - may 1

...

The cape of Cardinal Richelieu - details

15 hours of work - may 8

The first layer of the red cape is now complete.

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Richelieu's armor - detail

17,5 hours of work - may 15

I begin on the armor by using light colors black and titanium white that I create nuances of by mixing them.

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Richelieu's armor and his pants

20 hours of work - may 29

The first layer of armor is closed.
The second layer will come later, once the painting is complete.


Richelieu's boots

22,5 hours of work - june 19

Richelieu style boots musketeers.
The colors are obtained from raw umber, green earth natural, ivory black, and some cadmium yellow for some highlights.

The face and hands of Richelieu

25 hours of work - june 30

The face and hands of Richelieu.
Using the colors burnt umber, yellow ocher, cadmium red, and white to represent the facial skin color.
The hair is a mixture of ivory black and titanium white.

I somewhat strengthened the white / black contrasts from the top of the armor ... although this is the first layer, I cannot avoid going into details!

The first layer of the little boat with a soldier on the left of Richelieu

29 hours of work - october 2

The first layer of the little boat with a soldier on the left of Richelieu.
Transition to the second layer of the Richelieu cape. Using a cadmium red mixed with cadmium yellow for light parts and with earth shades for the dark parts.

The second layer of the little boat with a soldier on the left of Richelieu

31,5 hours of work - october 9

End of the transition from the second layer and adding shiny and dark areas to contrast well and give volume to the cape.
In this picture we can see the difference between the first layer of the cape and the second, which affects reality.

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Working on the background of the painting: The siege of La Rochelle

30,5 hours of work - november 6

Working on the background of the painting: the sea and the rather crude warship painted with earth shadow burnt diluted turpentine in order to have light colors and pastels.

Labor rock pier where Richelieu is located.

33 hours of work - december 12

Labor rock pier where Richelieu is located.

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Working several details of the painting

35 hours of work - january 1

Working several details to clarify (LEIDEN: lighter?) [Lighten areas. Lighter = adjective, to lighten = verb] areas with reflections and shine to add reality.
Finishing the second layer of rocks.

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Working the sea and its foam

37,5 hours of work - january 22

Working the sea and its foam. The foam was made on the "fresh" but the end result is not the one expected. It will board a second layer once the fabric is dryer to give the sea a more realistic look.
Adding light reflections on the rocks of the breakwater.

The second layer of the sea and accentuation of contrasts

40 hours of work - january 1

The second layer of the sea and accentuation of contrasts (dark green, ivory, white).
The second layer of part of the masts’ "breakwater" and protection against the enemy.
The first layer of the boat to stern, work on the background scenery, and the three-decker vessel.

The ship in the background is too light and the colors are too bright, which mitigates the main character Richelieu. In the next session the ship will be toned down with "marine" mists :)

The last hours on the painting of Richelieu

45 hours of work - february 19

The last hours on this painting!
- Remote Ship in the mist dissipated so that it does not encroach on Richelieu in the foreground.
- Small boat over, without going into too much unnecessary detail.
- Mast ripped detailed.
- Improved waves tearing the ship made to dry in order to have better dissolving streaks on ambient brown.
- Improved contrast on Richelieu's clothes.

Next and final step, the power part :)

The Siege of La Rochelle

under frame - february 28







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