The life of Dominique Vivant, Baron de Denon (1747-1825) was nothing short of remarkable. Possessing courteous manners, and a gifted conservationist, Denon became a confidant of kings, their mistresses, and emperors. He was a diplomat, author and artist and through his most important publications he would be responsible for the Egyptian Revival in European art and architecture.
Above: Denon, and illustration from the 1803 edition
Originally trained in law, Denon soon became more interested in art and literature and as a cultured gentleman he became a favourite of Madame de Pompadour and Louis XV who appointed him attaché to the French embassy at St. Petersburg. Denon would later serve in Sweden, Switzerland and then in Italy where he made a careful study of the ancient art and monuments. Denon became a highly accomplished artist, skilled in etching and mezzotinto engraving.