The 18th and 19th Centuries


 



(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)


 



Neoclassicism and Romanticism




 


Andrea Appiani




see also:

Between Two Revolutions

(From David to Delacroix)



***

Jean-Baptiste Regnault


Jacques-Louis David


Francois Gerard


Pierre-Paul Prud'hon




 

 


The French Revolution


Neoclassicism was not simply an archaeological and aesthetic phenomenon, but a complete ideology. As well as its governing theoretical methods, which called for continuous application, there were also historical and social implications. In France, in particular, the movement had strong moral associations and was linked to a shift towards a more austere social outlook. The fall of the monarchy had dramatic repercussions throughout Europe. Fuelled by a financial crisis and a deep-seated social malaise, which had permeated the nation since the 1770s. the protest finally erupted into the Revolution of 1789. In the same year, the Estates General - the nobility, clergy, and commons - met to establish constitutional controls. Divisions within the Estates General led to the formation of a National Assembly by the Third Estate. During these tumultuous years, the ideological, social, and political foundations of the Neoclassical language were laid down, providing eloquent expression to the passionate political ideals of the Revolution. A moral Utopia was sought in the aesthetic models of perfection of the ancient world, with the key players in the Revolution exploring history, art, and the nature of antiquity in their search for universal ideal truths. While art did retain its pre-revolutionary educational function, its instructive themes upheld an austere, stoical morality that was representative of the new political agenda. This was expressed in the terse oratory of revolutionary leaders Robespierre and Saint-Just.

 

 


Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1754-1829)
Liberty or Death
1795
Kunsthalle, Hamburg


An engraver of note, Regnault revealed a love of pure form and outline In this work, which was Inspired by classical sculpture.
Regnault represents visually one of the phrases used by radical revolutionaries during the period known as the Terror (c. 1793-95),
 his winged youth offering the people a dramatic choice -

Liberty or Death
 

 

 

 


Art as Propaganda


The artist most closely associated with Neoclassicism in France was Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), who expressed more powerfully than any other artist the spirit of the age. He was one of the earliest supporters of the French Revolution: a friend of Robespierre and a deputy of the Convention, he was among those who clamoured for the King's death in 1793. His work reveals the moral strictness, sobriety, and austere severity that he learned from classical art under the tutelage of Comte Joseph-Marie Vien, pioneer of Neoclassicism and a director of the French
Academy in Rome. The Oath of the Horatii cannot be regarded wholly as an appeal to republican sentiments, given that it was commissioned for the king by the Count of Angivillier. However, the painting shows a solidarity with the intense illusionism of the antique and celebrates the qualities of courage, temperance, respect for the law, and patriotism. The artist was commissioned in 1790 to paint The Oath of the Tennis Court: "To immortalize our ideas," said the purchasers, "we have chosen he who has painted Brutus and his dead son and the Horatii, the French patriot whose genius has pervaded the Revolution." After making some preliminary sketches, the artist did not complete the commission. The fall of Robespierre and the changing political climate led to his imprisonment in 1794. After his release - on the plea of his royalist wife - he produced Rape of the Sabine Women (1799). This was seen as an appeal for peace and helped the artist regain his status and position.
These were momentous times in France, with art and culture powerfully reflecting the drama of historical events. For the first time, museums came to be regarded as useful instalments for furthering public education: the Louvre was opened to the public in 1793. Morality was taught and disseminated through public monuments that were dedicated to general ideas or individuals. The cult of the personality evolved from Plutarchian ideals and gradually took hold. Napoleon, its greatest embodiment, came to be seen as the one man able to lead France out of the blind alley of the revolution without sacrificing the principles of 1789. David's life-size portrait, Napoleon in his Study(1812), was a magnificent example of pure propaganda. Depicted with the stillness and dignity of a classical statue, the emperor is elevated to heroic-status, a model of moral virtue. Also of note for its powers of glorification is The Empress Josephine in Coronation Robes (1807-08) by Francois Gerard (1770-1837), a use of pastel that was typical of a certain type of sensuous Neoclassicism. Two tendencies emerged: the minute came to be juxtaposed with the monumental, and the miniature and cameo with the colossal. The works of Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (1758-1823) typified the on-going influence of the sentimental Enlightenment concept of sensibilite on Neoclassical art. Even in the work of David, who shared the enthusiasm of his day for classical models and patriotic ideals with heroes and martyrs, an element of the sensual may be found: in his Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Graces (1824), martial virtue is forsaken in favour of pure sensual pleasure. David's Greek and Roman heroes depict a revolutionary sentiment that is interwoven with dignity and gravity: they embody feeling but also suggest, in their stylized rigidity, man frozen on the eve of his decline, his submergence into a new order in which he was no longer master of the earth. During the 19th century, the social change brought about by industrialization rendered the optimism that had characterized the Age of Enlightenment problematic. The lucidity, extreme refinement and exquisite sense of composition of the best Neoclassical works came to give way to more troubled, tormented expressions - which would develop into Romanticism.

 

Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) was born in Paris into a family of middle-class merchants. While in Rome between 1775 and 1780, he was influenced by classical sculpture and the work of Raphael, later returning to the city to paint The Oath of the Horatii. During the Revolution, David took an active part in public life. He was commissioned by the radical group the Jacobins in 1790 to paint. The Oath of the Tennis Court, which remained unfinished, and was appointed court painter by Napoleon in 1804. The artist died in exile in Brussels without receiving the royal decree that would have enabled him to return to France. "What I had to do for France, I did," he wrote to his pupil Gros shortly before his death. "I have established a brilliant school: I have created classical works that will be studied by everyone."

 

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Believe in Marat, the Almighty



The French Revolution, 1789



 


I believe in Marat, the almighty, the Creator of freedom and equality, our hope, who strikes terror into the aristocracy, who has gone forth from the heart of the nation and is revealed in the Revolution, who was murdered by the enemies of the Republic, who poured forth upon us the breath of freedom, who has descended into the Elysian Fields, whence he will one day return to judge and condemn the aristocracy.

A contemporaneous anonymous "Creed"
(July 1793-February 1795)

 


Jacques-Louis David
The Death of Marat
1793
Signed and dated "L'An deux"
Oil on canvas
165 x 128 cm
Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
 


Jacques-Louis David
Study of the head for: "The Death of Marat",
pen and ink on white paper pasted on brown paper,
Musée National du Chateau de Versailles.


Jacques-Louis David
The Death of Marat
(detail)
 

Jean-Paul Marat was sitting in the bathtub when his last hour struck on 13 July 1793. A teacher of languages, a journalist and a physician, Marat had turned out to be one of the most radical demagogues the 1789 Revolution produced. He spent much time in the tub to find relief from a chronic, itchy rash. He wore compresses on his forehead to relieve headaches from which he also suffered. While he was bathing on that fateful day, he was reading a letter from Charlotte Corday, the great-granddaughter of the playwright Pierre Corneille. The young noblewoman had tried in vain to gain admittance to Marat. Now she had sent him a letter in which she slyly suggested a tete-a-tete. He let her in and she stabbed him. Marat died instantly.
Some contemporaries must have been pleased at the deed. Marat had been a tough customer. He had had 860 gallows erected to deal with his political enemies and had sent over 200,000 of them to the guillotine. His opponents may have considered his death a just revenge. His adherents, however, celebrated him as the martyr of a ]ust cause.
 


The guillotine, the instrument of
choice for beheadings during the French Revolution,
was still being used for executions this century.
 

Appointed master of ceremonies at the hero's funeral, painter Jacques-Louis David was a fervent revolutionary and a personal friend of Marat. He obliged by putting Marat's corpse on canvas just as he had had it put on display: with his bare chest and wounds visible. On 15 October 1793 David presented the picture to the National Assembly. It became the symbol of the French Revolution. Copies of it were placed on church altars, smothered under billowing clouds of incense. Even in public offices copies of the painting were supposed to replace Crucifixes and royal portraits. However, before it could get out of hand, the personality cult was stopped by Robespierre's fall and the arrest of Jacques-Louis David. On 10 February the painting was removed from the chamber of the National Assembly. Marat's heart, which had been kept in the Cordeliers Club, was burnt and the ashes scattered in the Montmartre sewer.

Klaus Reichold, Bernhard Graf
 

 


Down with the Bastille!
The destruction of the court prison, a symbol of Bourbon despotism,
by Pierre-Antoine Demachy (1723—1807)
 

see also:

Between Two Revolutions


(From David to Delacroix
)

 

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Jacques-Lois
  David

1748-1825
France
 

The most celebrated French artist of his day and a principal exponent of the late 18th-century Neoclassical reaction against the Rococo style.

David won wide acclaim with his huge canvases on classical themes (e.g., "Oath of the Horatii," 1784. When the French Revolution began in 1789, he served briefly as its artistic director and painted its leaders and martyrs ("The Dead Marat," 1793) in a style that is more realistic than classical. Later he was appointed painter to Napoleon. Although primarily a painter of historical events, David was also a great portraitist (e.g., "Portrait de Mme Récamier," 1800).
 

Formative years

David was born in the year when new excavations at the ash-buried ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum were beginning to encourage a stylistic return to antiquity (without being, as was long supposed, a principal cause of that return). His father, a small but prosperous dealer in textiles, was killed in a duel in 1757, and the boy was subsequently raised, reportedly not very tenderly, by two uncles. After classical literary studies and a course in drawing, he was placed in the studio of Joseph-Marie Vien, a history painter who catered to the growing Greco-Roman taste without quite abandoning the light sentiment and the eroticism that had been fashionable earlier in the century. At age 18, the obviously gifted budding artist was enrolled in the school of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. After four failures in the official competitions and years of discouragement that included an attempt at suicide (by the stoic method of avoiding food), he finally obtained, in 1774, the Prix de Rome, a government scholarship that not only provided a stay in Italy but practically guaranteed lucrative commissions in France. His prize-winning work, "Antiochus and Stratonice," reveals that at this point he could still be influenced slightly by the Rococo charm of the painter François Boucher, who had been a family friend.

In Italy there were many influences, including those of the dark-toned 17th-century Bolognese school, the serenely classical Nicolas Poussin, and the dramatically realistic Caravaggio. David absorbed all three, with an evident preference for the strong light and shade of the followers of Caravaggio. For a while he seemed determined to fulfill a prediction he had made on leaving France: "The art of antiquity will not seduce me, for it lacks liveliness..." But he became interested in the Neoclassical doctrines that had been developed in Rome by, among others, the German painter Anton Raphael Mengs and the art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann. In the company of Quatremère de Quincy, a young French sculptor who was a strong partisan of the return to antiquity, he visited the ruins of Herculaneum, the Doric temples at Paestum, and the Pompeian collections at Naples. In front of the ancient vases and columns, he felt, he said later, that he had just been "operated on for cataract of the eye."
 

Rise to fame: 1780-94
 

Back in Paris in 1780, he completed and successfully exhibited "Bélisaire demandant l'aumône" ("Belisarius Asking Alms"), in which he combined a nobly sentimental approach to antiquity with a pictorial technique reminiscent of Poussin. In 1782 he married the rather plain but spirited Marguerite Pécoul, whose father was a wealthy building contractor and the superintendent of construction at the Louvre--a position that carried considerable influence. From this date David prospered rapidly. The pathos and painterly skill of "Andromache Mourning Hector" brought him election to the Académie Royale in 1784; and that same year, accompanied this time by his wife and studio assistants, he returned to Rome with a commission to complete a painting that appears to have been originally inspired by a Paris performance of Pierre Corneille's Horace. The result, finally not based on any of the incidents in the play, was the "Oath of the Horatii". The subject is the solemn moment, charged with stoicism and simple courage, when the three Horatii brothers face their father and offer their lives to assure victory for Rome in the war with Alba; the pictorial treatment--firm contours, bare cubic space, sober colour, frieze-like composition, and clear lighting--is as austerely non-Rococo as the subject. Exhibited first in David's studio in Rome and then, following his return to France, in the official Paris Salon of 1785, the picture created a sensation; it was regarded as a manifesto for an artistic revival (the term Neoclassicism was not yet in use) that would cure Europe of the lingering addiction to dainty curves and boudoir themes. Eventually, it came to be regarded, although such was almost certainly not the first intention, as a manifesto for an end to the corruption of an effete aristocracy and for a return to the stern, patriotic morals attributed to republican Rome.

David became a culture hero; he was even referred to in some quarters as a messiah. He added to his fame by producing in 1787 the morally uplifting "Death of Socrates," in 1788 the less uplifting but archaeologically interesting "Amours de Paris et d'Hélene" ("Paris and Helen"), and in 1789 another lesson in self-sacrifice "Les Licteurs rapportent à Brutus les corps de ses fils" ("The Lictors Bringing to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons"). By the time the "Brutus" was on view, the French Revolution had begun, and this picture of the patriotic Roman consul who condemned his traitorous sons to death had an unanticipated political significance. It also had, through its presumably accurate reconstitution of the details of everyday Roman life, an effect that was perhaps equally unexpected, for with it David began the long and extensive influence he was to have on French fashions. Up-to-date homes began to display imitations of his Roman furniture; men cut their hair short in the Roman style; and women adopted the dresses and the coiffures of Brutus' daughters. Later on, even the flimsy Sabine dress, which left the breasts exposed, was adopted by the ultramodern.

In the early years of the Revolution, David was a member of the extremist Jacobin group led by Robespierre, and he became an energetic example of the politically committed artist. He was elected to the National Convention in 1792, in time to vote for the execution of Louis XVI. By 1793, as a member of the art commission, he was virtually the art dictator of France and was nicknamed "the Robespierre of the brush." He preached moral and aesthetic sermons to the Convention:

The artist must be a philosopher. Socrates the skilled sculptor, Jean-Jacques [Rousseau] the good musician, and the immortal Poussin, tracing on the canvas the sublime lessons of philosophy, are so many proofs that an artistic genius should have no other guide except the torch of reason.

Guided supposedly by the torch of reason and perhaps also by bitter memories of his many unsuccessful attempts to win the Prix de Rome, he succeeded in abolishing the Académie Royale and with it much of the old regime's system for training artists and providing them with patronage. The Académie was replaced briefly by a body called the Commune des Arts, then by a group called the Popular and Republican Society of the Arts, and then, finally, in 1795, after David was out of power, by the beginning of the system--a combination of the Institut de France and the École des Beaux-Arts--that dominated French artistic life during most of the 19th century.

As an artist during these years of his dictatorship, David was frequently busy with revolutionary propaganda. He had commemorative medals struck, set up obelisks in the provinces, and staged national festivals and the grandiose funerals the new government gave its martyrs. Some of his projects for paintings at this time were never completely carried out: one of these is the unfinished "Joseph Bara," which is a tribute to a drummer boy shot by the royalists, and another is the sketched "Oath of the Tennis Court" (Louvre, Musée National de Versailles et des Trianons, and the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.), which was to commemorate the moment in 1789 when the Third Estate (the commoners) swore not to disband until a new constitution had been adopted. The "Death of Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau," painted to honour a murdered deputy and regarded by David as one of his best pictures, was eventually destroyed. The result of all this is that the artist's Jacobin inspiration is represented principally by "The Dead Marat", painted in 1793 shortly after the murder of the revolutionary leader by Charlotte Corday. This "pietà of the Revolution," as it has been called, is generally considered David's masterpiece and an example of how, under the pressure of genuine emotion, Neoclassicism could turn into tragic Realism.
 

Later years: 1794-1825
 

In 1794, after his friend Robespierre had been sent to the guillotine, David was arrested. At his trial he is said to have defended himself badly, mumbling that in the future he intended to attach himself "to principles and not to men." He was imprisoned twice, for four months in 1794 and for two more the next year, apparently most of the time in the not uncomfortable Palais du Luxembourg in Paris. He was consoled by being allowed to paint and also by the fact that his wife, who had divorced him two years earlier for having voted for the death of the King, now loyally returned in his hour of trouble and remarried him, on this occasion for good. During his first period in prison, he painted from his window his only landscape, the "Vue du jardin du Luxembourg à Paris" ("View of the Luxembourg Gardens"). While he was held temporarily in another Paris building, he did an unfinished "Self-Portrait." At 46 he appears as a boyish young man with romantically disheveled hair, brown eyes, and a generally aggressive, if worried, look; a cheek tumour from which he suffered all of his adult life and which is said to have impeded his speech gives his face a slight twist.

Even during his imprisonment, he had retained three studios in the Louvre, and, after the amnesty of 1795, he devoted to teaching the same energy he had been devoting to revolutionary politics. Eventually, between the "Oath of the Horatii" and the Battle of Waterloo, he was responsible for the training and indoctrination of hundreds of young painters from all over Europe, among them such future masters as Baron François Gérard, Antoine-Jean Gros, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. The indoctrination began with the premise that the basis of art was the contour, and so it can be held partly responsible for the excessive emphasis on drawing that characterized European academic painting in the 19th century. But David himself, as his works show, was not always hostile to rich chromatic effects; as late as 1860 he could be called, by no less a colourist than Eugène Delacroix, "the father of the whole modern school."

Neoclassicism was presumably inclined to scorn portraiture, because a contemporary sitter would normally lack both the universality and the nudity of an ancient statue. David, however, had done portraits, remarkable for their psychological individuality and their look of solid flesh, since the beginning of his career: in 1782-83 his sitter had been Alphonse Leroy, a Paris medical professor; in 1784 Mme Pécoul, his mother-in-law; in 1788 the chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, with Mme Lavoisier. In 1795 the freed artist portrayed his pretty, elegant sister-in-law, Mme Sériziat, and her dandyish husband. In 1799 he produced his famous period piece, "Portrait de Mme Récamier," which he left unfinished because the sitter, then at the start of her career as a reigning Paris beauty, proved unreliable about hours for posing.

But David was not a man for the life of a mere teacher and portraitist. In 1799 he made a spectacular reentry into public notice with a new giant canvas, "Les Sabines" ("The Intervention of the Sabine Women"). The picture, often mistakenly referred to as "The Rape of the Sabines," represents the moment, a few years after the legendary abduction, when the women, now contented wives and mothers, halt a battle between their Roman husbands and the Sabine men who have come on an unwanted rescue mission; in the middle of the melee stands the lovely Sabine woman Hersilia, appealing with one arm toward the Roman Romulus and the other toward the bearded Sabine Tatius. The artist had said that his aim was to move away from the allegedly crude Roman manner of the "Oath of the Horatii" into a more graceful Greek manner, and he did win enthusiastic applause for the elegance of his figures. He also won some approval for his supposed intention to preach conciliation after 10 years of bloodletting in France. But he attracted perhaps the most attention with the nakedness of his ancient warriors; having ceased to be the Robespierre of the brush, he now became, in a popular jingle, "the Raphael of the sans-culottes" ("without breeches"; the radical Republicans).

Napoleon admired "The Intervention of the Sabine Women" and saw possibilities for self-aggrandizement in the talent displayed. Soon David, without acquiring political office, was again a government painter, first under the Consulate and then, after 1804, under the Empire. He was not, however, the only prominent Frenchman to move from the Jacobin left to the Bonapartist right, and he had evidently always been a worshiper of historical heroes. His most important Napoleonic work is the huge "Coronation" of 1805-07, sometimes called "Napoleon Crowning the Empress Josephine"; in it Neoclassicism gives way to a style that combines the official portraiture of the old French monarchy with overtones--and occasional straight imitation--of the masters of the Italian Renaissance. This picture was followed in 1810 by the large "Napoleon Distributing the Eagles" and in 1812 by "Napoleon in His Study", a sharply perceptive portrait notwithstanding its conspicuously propagandistic intention.

After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, David was exiled to Brussels. Cut off from the excitement and stimulus of the great events he had lived through, he lost much of his old energy. Toward the end of his life, he executed, probably with considerable help from a Belgian pupil, François-Joseph Navez, one more remarkably convincing portrait: "Les Trois Dames dites de Gand" ("Three Women of Ghent").

Encyclopædia Britannica 
 

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Andrea Appiani


Andrea Appiani (1754-1817) was Napoleon's official painter in Italy.
Between 1803 and 1817, he praised the Emperor's achievements in a series of panels in the Carvatid room of the Palazzo Reale in Milan. As the number of subjects multiplied, his pictorial language became increasingly-complex.
He used powerful chiaroscuro effects in the style of Caravaggio.

 

 

Andrea Appiani

b
Milan, 31 May 1754; d Milan, 8 Nov 1817.

Italian painter and designer. He had been intended to follow his father’s career in medicine but instead entered the private academy of the painter Carlo Maria Giudici (1723–1804). He received instruction in drawing, copying mainly from sculpture and prints. He studied Raphael through the engravings of Marcantonio Raimondi, as well as the work of Giulio, Anton Raphael Mengs and, again from prints, the compositions in Trajan’s Column. He then joined the class of the fresco painter Antonio de’ Giorgi (1720–93), which was held at the Ambrosiana picture gallery in Milan, where he was able to study Raphael’s art directly from the cartoon of the School of Athens and the work of Leonardo’s followers, particularly Bernardino Luini. He also frequented the studio of Martin Knoller, where he deepened his knowledge of painting in oils; and he studied anatomy at the Ospedale Maggiore in Milan with the sculptor Gaetano Monti (1750–1847). His interest in aesthetic issues was stimulated by the classical poet Giuseppe Parini, whom he drew in two fine pencil portraits (Milan, Brera; Milan, Mus. Poldi Pezzoli). In 1776 he entered the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera to follow the painting courses of Giuliano Traballesi, from whom he received a mastery of the fresco technique and the encouragement to make copies after Domenichino and Correggio.
 


Andrea Appiani
Parnassus
 Villa Reale (now the Museum of Modern Art), Milan, 1811

The Villa Reale, built by Leopold Pollak in 1790 for Count Barbiano of Belgiojoso, was given to Napoleon in 1802.
This fresco, Appianis last work, decorates the ceiling of the dining room.
With its theme of Apollo and the Muses, it was intended as a tribute to the Bonapartes as patrons of the arts.

 


Andrea Appiani
The Apotheosis of Napoleon I
Throne room of the Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1808

Andrea Appiani was Napoleon's official painter in Italy. Between 1803 and 1817, he praised the Emperor's achievements
in a series of panels in the Carvatid room of the Palazzo Reale in Milan. As the number of subjects multiplied,
his pictorial language became increasingly-complex. He used powerful chiaroscuro effects in the style of Caravaggio.
 In this fresco, the King of Italy, supported by the Eagle and by the Victories, is crowned by the Hours.

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Napoleon As King of Italy

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Portrait of Napoleon I Bonaparte as King of Italy.
1805 

 


Andrea Appiani
Allegory on the Peace of Pressburg

1808
Oil on wood, 38 x 46 cm
Pushkin Museum, Moscow

 

 


Andrea Appiani
General Napoleon Bonaparte

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Josephine Bonaparte de Beauharnais incorona il mirto sacro a Venere
1796

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Josephine Bonaparte

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Portrait Eugene Beauharnais

 

 


 Andrea Appiani
Portrait of General Louis-Charles-Antoine Desaix De Veygoux
1800-01
Oil on canvas, 115 x 88 cm
Musée National de Château, Versailles

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Portrait of Prince Eugene de Beauharnais Viceroy of Italy and Duke of Leuchtenberg
1810


 


Andrea Appiani
Mme Hamelin
1798 

 


Andrea Appiani
Maria-Morigia Reina

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Ritratto di Madame Petiet con i figli.
1800

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Madame Regnault de Saint-Jean d'Angely

 

 


Andrea Appiani
La toeletta di Giunone
1810 

 

 


Andrea Appiani
Madonna and Child
 

see also:

Between Two Revolutions (From David to Delacroix)

***

Jean-Baptiste Regnault

Jacques-Louis David

Francois Gerard

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon


 

 

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