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Michael Howard

(b Vercelli, Piedmont, March 11, 1806; d Dijon, March 5, 1867).

French painter, illustrator, set designer and poet. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Guillaume Lethière from 1821. The Punishment of Mazeppa (1827; Rouen, Mus. B.-A.), inspired by the scene from Byron’s poem, in which Mazeppa is tied to the back of a wildly stampeding horse, is his most important early painting and one of the key images of the Romantic movement.

Early in his career Boulanger became friendly with Eugène and Achille Devéria. Through them he met Victor Hugo, who became his ardent supporter and the source of many of his most typical works. Among Boulanger’s illustrations were those for Hugo’s Odes et ballades (1829), Les Orientales (1829), Les Fantômes (1829) and Notre-Dame de Paris (1844). Boulanger interpreted the macabre and romantic quality of Hugo’s texts with an imaginative power and freedom that anticipated Redon (e.g. ‘...