The dinner of the crew

Subject rarely shown, it allows to observe the everyday sailor, the picture is exhibited in Paris.

Crew Dinner © National Marine Museum / P. Dantec

Julien Le Blant (1851-1930)
Oil on canvas
loaf pan of 11 x 26 cm (9x5inches)
Inventory number MnM 11 OA 1
Exhibition Paris, palace of Chaillot

This oil painting by Julien Le Blant shows a scene of the life of the crew aboard a battleship to 1890. The men take their meals between the cannons of the drums. This subject, very rarely represented, allows to observe the daily life of the sailor, besides to inform about the clothes and the furniture of the time.


In the foreground on the ground, is the axis on which the barrel rotates during the pointing, before firing. For the time being, it serves as a support for bread, and for two wine-cans. At the bottom left, a sailor, barefoot like some of these companions, carries two more of these cans.
The utensils for the meal are all metal (plates, cutlery, quarter of wine), while the bowls used to bring the dishes to the table are wood. There are two on the table near the barrel.
On the left, you can see the imposing chain that holds the anchor.

With the adoption of steam and the appearance of an increasingly sophisticated artillery, the sailor, mechanic or helmsman, must specialize. Different schools are then opened to train it.

This painting was acquired by the state at the Salon 1884 and deposited at the Museum of Marine 1944 by the National Fund of Contemporary Art.


Julien Le Blant
Paris 1851-1930
Painter of history, genre, illustrator and watercolorist.

A pupil of Girard, he started at the Salon in 1874. He carried out both military and pastoral subjects. The latter were inspired by his stays in Correze near Brive-la-Gaillarde.
When the First World War broke out, Le Blant, then aged of 63 years, could not engage. Putting his brushes at the barracks of Reuilly or Vincennes, he then realized the portrait of the poilus before their departure for the front of the East.
He illustrated many works such as Les Chouans d'Honore de Balzac, Chevalier des Touches de Barbey d'Aurelly, or Servitude et grandeur militaire by Alfred de Vigny.

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