Barbieri describes Raousset-Boulbon with great respect and tenderness, as a jovial man with an undercurrent of quiet sadness that alarmed the artist: "su carácter era jovial, pero se dejaba [sentir] un mal estar, una sombría tristeza, que en varias ocasiones me alarmaba...." In 1853, Barbieri attempted to capture the Count's complex character in a portrait—which, remarkably, is found in the CHS collection as well. Looking at a reproduction of the painting, one wonders: was the Count a tragic figure (as Barbieri suggests), a quixotic fool, or a vicious opportunist? Is it possible for a man to be all of these things?
|Leonardo Barbieri letter, undated, Leonardo Barbieri papers, MS 110, courtesy, California Historical Society.|
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian
California Historical Society