The Prince of Joinville visiting the island of Gorée

The Prince of Joinville visiting the island of Gorée

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Title: The prince of Joinville attending a negro dance on the island of Gorée. December 1842.

Author : NEWS Édouard Auguste (1811 - 1867)

Creation date : 1846

Date shown: 1842

Dimensions: Height 131 - Width 178

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas The Prince of Joinville going to Brazil attends an indigenous dance on the Place du Gouvernement on the island of Gorée in December 1842

Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Palace of Versailles) / All rights reserved website

Picture reference: 87-000316-02 / MV6976

The prince of Joinville attending a negro dance on the island of Gorée. December 1842.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Palace of Versailles) / All rights reserved

Publication date: March 2012

Historical context

On the occasion of his marriage to Françoise de Braganza, sister of Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil, François Ferdinand Philippe d'Orléans, Prince of Joinville (1818-1900), third son of Louis-Philippe, a sailor who has since become famous that he had brought back to France the ashes of Napoleon (1840), made the trip to South America which took him through the island of Gorée, located opposite Dakar, Senegal. The main trading post for slaves, the island had been fortified in the 18th century.e century, but its importance was already declining during the visit of the Prince of Joinville.

Image Analysis

Since we had stayed in Senegal from 1842 to 1845, it was quite naturally to him that Louis-Philippe turned to paint this subject. A topographical and anecdotal work rather than a historical painting despite the presence of the Prince of Joinville, the painting is especially valid for its representation of the main square of Gorée and the inhabitants of the city, Senegalese blacks, mestizos and whites, soldiers above all. With a sober architecture, close to Sudanese models such as the mosques of Timbuktu, a mythical city discovered in 1828 by René Caillé, Gorée was then a trading post from which slavery had already disappeared, thus ruining the Senegalese colonial economy. In a very meticulous style, Nousveaux endeavors to show the colorful costumes of the inhabitants, costumes not exempt from Western influence, but cannot convey the frantic rhythm of the African dance that he is supposed to paint.


This painting was apparently intended primarily for the propaganda of the July Monarchy. The year following his marriage, the Prince de Joinville was commissioned to inspect French trading posts on the west coast of Africa. This painting was a bit of a foreshadowing and indicated the anchoring of French relations in the South Atlantic, from a diplomatic point of view, as marked by the marriage of the prince, and from a colonial point of view.

  • July Monarchy
  • Louis Philippe
  • Orleans (of)


CONSTANS Claire, Catalog of paintings from Versailles, tome II, Paris, RMN, 1995 GARNIER-PELLE Nicole, Musée Condé, Paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, Paris, RMN, 1997

To cite this article

Jérémie BENOÎT, "The Prince of Joinville visiting the island of Gorée"

Video: The Door of No Return: Tour of Goree Island


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