The Nadars, a photographic legend

The Nadars


Jean Journet (1799-1861)

Félix Nadar, 1857

Salt-paper print from a collodion glass negative, 27.4 x 21.8 cm.
BnF, Prints and Photographs Department, EO-15 (9)-PET FOL
© Bibliothèque nationale de France
Jean Journet, a.k.a. the Apostle, was a picturesque and eccentric Parisian figure who was often mocked by his contemporaries. When the former carbonaro and pharmacist in Limoux came across Fourier's philosophy, he decided to spread the doctrine by abandoning his family and taking up a pilgrim's staff. His humanitarian evangelism, which extolled brotherhood and togetherness, lead him to produce a number of brochures, which he distributed inopportunely, dropping them from "on high" (the peanut gallery) in Parisian theatres, or by besieging famous writers and journalists. Commited several times to the Bicêtre asylum, upon his death, Journet found a champion in Nadar, who wrote an article for the October 27, 1861 edition of Le Figaro, which he concluded with, "Ah, my dear madmen! How much better do I love you than all the wise men."
Nadar was inspired by Spanish Golden Age painting for this "stunning head of Saint Peter."