|Charles Gore, Mainz After the Allied Victory in 1793|
Frank Manuel's book The Prophets of Paris offers some great writing on the "prophets of progress." In July of 1793 Condorcet wrote the following: "Long since persuaded that the human species is infinitely perfectible and that this perfection ... cannot be arrested but by physical revolutions of the globe, I considered the task of hastening progress to be one of my sweetest occupations, one of the first duties of a man who has strengthened his reason by study and mediation." In October he was branded a traitor and a warrant issued for his arrest. He went into hiding. In March of 1784 he was arrested and died two days later in his cell.
|Charles Gore, painted by Melchior Krauss, 1793|
The painting at the top of this post is by Charles Gore, whom Goethe mentions in The Siege of Mainz. Gore had traveled from Weimar with Georg Melchior Kraus who, at the time of Goethe's visit at their encampment, was painting a portrait of "our dear friend." As Goethe writes, because of the painting "we can see him and remember him fondly every day." Goethe's description is exactly that of the painting directly above, with Gore all dressed up, "because he was going to put in an appearance at the Duke's table. .. Now he was sitting on a chest in a peasant's room in a little German village, surrounded by all kinds of household and agricultural implements, next to him his half-eaten sugar loaf on a piece of paper; he was holding a coffee cup in one hand and and a silver drawing pen instead of a spoon in the other. And so the Englishman was quite decently and comfortably established in this simple billet." (Translation by Robert R. Heitner.)
Picture credit: ingenieurgeograph