Le tir a la cible by Achille Jean Théodore Brail

  • This engaging military scene was composed by French Academic painter Achille Jean Théodore Brail
  • The artist composed the oil on canvas for the Salon of 1885
  • It depicts a French infantry unit conducting target practice after a meal
  • Brail was was best known for his highly detailed scenes of military life like the present work
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-4286

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Achille Jean Théodore Brail
1842-1911 | French

Le tir a la cible
(Target Shooting)


Oil on canvas
Signed "Jean Brail" (lower right)

This monumental, highly engaging oil on canvas was composed by Achille Jean Théodore Brail, a French artist celebrated for his scenes of soldiers on the battlefield and in training. The work details an infantry unit conducting target practice alongside the remnants of a picnic that have been tossed to the side. Brail composed the scene especially for the Paris Salon of 1885. Artists would spend months and even years on their Salon entries, wishing to put forth only the very best of their work. Le tir a la cible reflects Brail at his very best, as the painting reveals the artist’s remarkable ability to capture a moment in time in lifelike detail. 

As a member of the French army himself, Brail was heavily influenced by the French military conflicts of the late 19th century, particularly the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Both during and after the war, a patriotic fervor took hold of the French public at large, which in turn influenced the history painters of the period. Brail was one artist who dedicated much of his career to capturing military scenes on canvas, which fascinated an already sympathetic French audience. Paintings such as this helped to revive French national pride after their crushing defeat at the hands of the Prussians, and in this work Brail successfully captures the resilience of French troops.

Achille Jean Théodore Brail was born in 1842 in Cassagnolles, France, and trained in the studios of Pierre Comte and Edouard Detaille, a renowned Academic painter celebrated for his military scenes. He joined the French army in 1861 and eventually rose to the rank of battalion leader. As part of the infantry, he was able to observe the regiments in action and sketch his fellow soldiers in the field. He became a frequent exhibitor at the Paris Salon, showing for the first time in 1874, and was best known for his highly detailed scenes of military life like the present work. For his services and achievements in the French art community, he was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1883 and an Officer in 1903.

Circa 1885

Canvas: 58 7/8" high x 85" wide
Frame: 62 1/2" high x 88 1/2" wide
Le tir a la cible by Achille Jean Théodore Brail
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Paintings
Depth: 2.75 Inches
Width: 88.5 Inches
Height: 62.5 Inches
Style: Academic
Canvas Width: 85 Inches
Canvas Height: 58.625 Inches

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