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Interesting Facts about Louis Joseph César Ducornet, a French Painter



Louis Joseph César Ducornet 218th Birthday Google Doodle

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 218th birthday of French painter Louis Joseph César Ducornet, who gained fame in the 1800s despite being born without arms or a left leg and only being able to paint his right foot’s four toes because of limb differences. His elaborate portraits helped him become famous. On January 10, 1806, in Lille, France, Ducornet was born.

15 Interesting Facts about Louis Joseph César Ducornet

  1. French painter Louis Joseph César Ducornet used his foot to create his paintings. His most well-known works are portraits and biblical and historical scenes.
  2. Ducornet was born on January 10, 1806, in Lille, to poor parents.
  3. He was born with phocomelia, a birth defect that causes him only to have four toes on his right foot and neither arms nor thighs.
  4. His father had to carry him since he was unable to walk. But even as a young child, he would use his toes to pick up pieces of charcoal from the ground, and the crude drawings he produced showed so much promise that he was taught painting locally.
  5. Louis Joseph César Ducornet was sent to Paris with the aid of the Lille municipality, where he studied under Guillaume Guillon-Lethière, François Louis Joseph Watteau, and François Gérard. King Louis XVIII briefly provided him with a government pension.
  6. Despite being unable to compete in the Prix de Rome due to his handicap, he was recognized with multiple medals at the Salon. Auguste Allongé was one of the students he occasionally accepted.
  7. The French government bought an eleven-foot-tall painting he painted of Mary Magdalene at the feet of Jesus following his resurrection.
  8. Louis Joseph César Ducornet was born with phocomelia, a congenital condition that results in limb deformities. Ducornet had four toes on his right foot but no arms or left leg.
  9. Throughout his early years, Ducornet was carried about by his father because he could not walk. Using his toes, Ducornet picked up a piece of charcoal and started playing around with sketches. Painting became a lifelong passion after this.
  10. Local artists and schools took notice of Ducornet after he demonstrated his skill as an illustrator. He was able to study under well-known painters in Paris thanks to training and pensions from the government.
  11. Louis Joseph César Ducornet concentrated on biblically-inspired works early in his career, such as Repentance (1828) and St. Louis enforcing Justice. To this day, the Lille Museum has both paintings.
  12. Ducornet was unable to receive awards from the French scholarship foundation Prix de Rome due to his disability. Nonetheless, he did receive multiple awards from the esteemed Salon d’Art.
  13. Louis Joseph César Ducornet created a painting of Mary Magdalene in 1840, which the French government bought. He then created a self-portrait in which he is seen painting with his foot, among his most famous works of art. Even today, some of the most illustrious art museums display his historical scenes and portraits.
  14. At 50 years of age, Louis Joseph César Ducornet died in Paris in 1856.
  15. On January 10, 2024, Google featured a Google Doodle on its homepage to celebrate Louis Joseph César Ducornet’s 218th Birthday.
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