Some more tombs (there are some 20 thousand) and another cat (there are at least tens of them) from the Montmartre Cemetery. Many of them are also remarkable for their sculptures, statues…
Henri Murger (1822-61) belonged to a group of artists, referring to themselves as “water drinkers” (too poor to drink anything else). He invented the expression “bohèmes” (bohemians) to describe the characters of poor artists, living just for art (long-haired, smoking opium pipes…), in opposition to the “bourgeois”. He had some small jobs, among others as secretary to a Count Léon Tolsotoï (not the author) and had considerable success with a feuilleton, then published as a book – “Scènes de la vie de bohème”. However, he died quite young and poor, but popular. A large crowd attended the funeral and money was collected to pay a (more than) decent tomb.
Some 35 years after his death, the Puccini opera “La Bohème”, based on Burger’s writings, had its première (conducted by Toscanini). It has become one of the most played operas. Other operas, films and the musical “Rent” has Murger’s work as basis.
This tomb, and its statue, has something in common with another tomb – see below; the same artist made the statues. His name was Aimé Millet (1819-91). He had some eminent art teachers, and later, as a teacher, some eminent pupils. His name is perhaps not so well-known today, but he’s the one who among many other statues made the one on top of Opéra Garnier (see previous post) and also the one of Vercingétorix at Alésia. (Millet is also buried at the Montmartre Cemetery; a simple grave without statue.)
So, the other statue by Millet at the Montmartre Cemetery is on the tomb of Jean-Baptiste Baudin (1811-51). He was a doctor and member of parliament, famous for having been shot down on the barricades in opposition to the coup d’état by the future Napoleon III. He became a hero for the Republicans. He got a statue close to Place de la Bastille (see previous posts), but it disappeared with many other statues during the Nazi occupation. At least this one on his tomb remains.
There is a certain resemblance between this tomb and the one of Godefroy Cavaignac (1801-45), easily found close to the entrance and visible from the bridge that crosses the cemetery. Godefroy Cavaignac was another republican hero, journalist. Observer and defender in opposition to a massacre, called the “red night”, which took place in 1834, he was one of 164 “conspirators” who were imprisoned, but he organized (together with Barbès) an evasion - they were 26 - a year later. He was also largely celebrated by the Republicans when buried.
This recumbent effigy of Cavaignac is created by a great sculptor, François Rude (1784-1855), whose most remarkable work is perhaps “the Marseillaise” on the Arc of Triumph (see previous posts), but several of his works can be seen around Paris and its museums.
There are more remarkable statues by remarkable sculptors around. I will be back!