Pierre Jacques Benoit
Pierre Benoit was a painter and draftsman born at Antwerp in 1782, and died at Brussels in 1854. He was first destined for the state of goldsmith; his personal taste led him to drawing and the activity of his mind, his desire, his need to know, made him accomplish, still very young, journeys which sometimes filled the whole life of a man. Thus, at the age of twenty, he had already traversed the north of Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria, and Prussia; endowed with a remarkable facility for all that was intelligent, he made himself familiar with the languages of the various countries which he traversed or lived.
It was first on the island of Heligoland that he established himself and engaged in a trade whose dangers scarcely outweighed the profits, and which was due to the continental blockade established by Napoleon. Later, when the famous Henri was an expert at the Louvre, he distinguished himself in Paris as a restorer of paintings; it was not there, moreover, his first job; he had already been a business agent, a merchant captain, and so on. Linked with many celebrities of his time, he had traversed all the cities of Europe under the most dissimilar conditions of fortune; sometimes leading the life of a real bohemian and reduced to live to paint pictures of junk, even signs; on the other hand, on the contrary, leading a life full of pomp and luxury, searching the salons and deserving by elegance the qualification, so complimentary, of incredible.
On reaching the age of maturity, Benedict passed the sea, visited the Dutch possessions of the Indies, and brought back from Surinam a rich and remarkable collection of drawings and views of these distant lands. The drawings of this interesting work have been put on stone by MM. Madou and Lauters and the text has been reviewed by a distinguished writer. It was published in Brussels by the Society of Fine Arts. Our artist had prepared another publication, of which the only pamphlet appeared, which was to form two volumes under the title of Voyages and Adventures of Pierre-Jacques Benoit, author of the Voyage to Surinam.
Biographie nationale de Belgique. Tome 2. pg 163-164.
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