Monday, April 15, 2013

REINE DE NAPLES

Many know Breguet for its superb complicated timepieces or for the incredible historical watch inventions made by its founding father, Abraham-Louis Breguet, who is credited with creating the world’s first tourbillion (a watch with an escapement that compensates for the errors in timekeeping due to the effects of gravity when the watch is in certain positions), which he patented in 1801. What many may not realize is that Breguet created the first known wristwatch. 
In 1810, Napoleon’s younger sister, Caroline Murat, wife of the King of Naples, wrote to Abraham-Louis Breguet requesting he create a watch for her wrist with a bracelet made of hair and thin threads of gold. Considered the forefather of many great watchmaking inventions, Breguet had an exceptional reputation amongst the European elite due to his tireless thirst for perfection in horology. “It is unclear if the wristwatch was Abraham-Louis Breguet’s idea or the queen’s,” says Emmanuel Breguet, Breguet’s descendant and today, the historian for the brand. “Hence, we say that we are cocreators of the first wristwatch.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

THE CHOICE OF HERCULES

In a letter dated January 19, 1712, two months after his arrival in Naples, the Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), philosopher and theoretician, complained of being unable to meet a painter worthy of the name. But shortly afterwards he said that he was happy to have found an eminent one, Paolo de Matteis. His accounts book contains mention of a payment for preparatory drawings for the painting to illustrate his treatise entitled A Notion of the Historical Draught or Tablature of the Judgment of Hercules according to Prodicus (1713). In this, he held that the decisive element of pictorial creation is in the intellectual conception of the subject, with the intervention of the painter being completely secondary. The subject of the painting-Hercules' choice between the world of appearances and objective values-actually forms the conclusion to the book: "Tis evident however from Reason it-self, as well as from History and Experience, that nothing is more fatal, either to Painting, Architecture, or the other Arts, than this false Relish, which is govern'd rather by what immediately strikes the Sense, than by what consequentially and by reflection pleases the Mind, and satisfies the Thought and Reason."