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Eugène Flandin

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Title: Eugène Flandin  
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Subject: Tomb of Esther and Mordechai, Tomb of Cyrus, Iranian studies, Orientalism
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Eugène Flandin

Jean-Baptiste Eugène Napoléon Flandin (b. Naples, 15 August 1809; d. Tours, 29 September 1889), French orientalist, painter, archaeologist, and politician. Flandin’s archeological drawings and some of his military paintings are valued more highly by museum authorities than his purely artistic paintings. He is most renowned for his famous drawings and paintings of Persian monuments, landscapes, and social life made during his travels with the architect Pascal Coste during the years 1839-41. Flandin’s observations on the state of Persia and international politics in the mid-19th century also continue to provide important documentary information.

First Trip to Persia

In 1839, Flandin was, along with Coste, made a laureate of the Légion d’honneur.

Archaeological Work

A 19th century reconstruction of Persepolis, by Flandin and Pascal Coste.

In March 1843, after fruitless searching for the site of Nineveh, Paul-Émile Botta (1802–70) discovered the Assyrian capital of Dur Sharrukin on the site of modern Khorsabad. Botta mistook the place for the actual site of Nineveh (Assyro-Babylonian cuneiform had not yet been deciphered). In October, Flandin was appointed to Botta’s mission by the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres to draw the excavated remains and inscriptions. He also participated in the excavations which ended in October 1844.

Significance of his writings

Despite its many predecessors, Flandin’s Voyage en Perse remains a model of its kind and an important source, particularly on early [1]

Endowed with many gifts and professional skills (classical, military, and Orientalist painting; archeological drawing; writing and reporting; military and civil administration), Flandin provides us with very precious observations, accounts, and pictures. There is hardly any illustrated book on Persia, particularly one dealing with the Qajar period, without reproductions of his celebrated paintings of monuments, bazaars, personages and costumes, street scenes, landscapes, etc. All this work, supplemented with precise written observations, was accomplished despite the many hardships endured by Coste and Flandin during their travels. However, Flandin’s pioneering work in archeological drawing was, soon after his Oriental expeditions, superseded by the new art of photography. Daguerreotype and calotype made it possible to prepare pictures, notably of archeological remains, quickly and precisely, although archeological drawing still remains an indispensable complement to research and publication.


  1. ^ Voyage en Perse, Itinéraire, I, pp. 505-8
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