Painter, history painter, portrait painter, draughtsman, etcher and commercial artist
Tradition has it that Armand Caraffe was a pupil of L. Lagrenée (1725-1805). But of greater importance to him as well as his contemporaries was the figure of J.-L. David (1748-1825). Without having received the official Rome Prize, Caraffe found his way to Rome in 1785, where for a time he ultimately took the place at the Académie de France of J. G. Drouais, who died young in 1888. The subjects of his paintings either known today or described in contemporary texts were drawn from ancient history (as, for example, 'The Oath of the Horatii', now in Arkhangelskoye Palace near Moscow) or allegories inspired by neoclassicism. Much as Caraffe accommodated contemporary taste with his themes, his style was criticized as crude and inappropriate to his ambitious material. A journey to Greece and Constantinople led him to plan corresponding illustrations after his return, but these were never carried out. During the following years in Paris, Caraffe, as a follower of the Jacobins like J.-L. David, spent some time in prison, but then repeatedly displayed drawings and paintings at the Salon and took part in the art-historical and museological efforts of his generation. In 1802 he journeyed (like his countryman Doyen) to St Petersburg for a roughly ten-year stay. Nothing specific is known about his demise.