Some Benigni

I found these color uniform prints recently at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.  The artist is Pierre Benigni whose work on the Foreign Legion usually appears as black and white illustrations.  Many of his drawings appeared on the covers of La Légion Etrangère which was the predecessor to the Kepi Blanc magazine known as (see below).  These four illustrations are some of the uniform prints that appeared in the first edition of the Foreign Legion’s Livre D’Or that was published for the Centennial of the Legion in 1931.

Pierre Benigni, (1878 – 1956), was a 20th century French military painter who specialized in Napoleonic armies.  A pupil of Édouard Detaille, he became, after Maurice Mahut (another prominent illustrator of the Foreign Legion), the appointed military painter of the Legion and immortalized the Legion regiments on foot, mounted companies and cavalry units.  He was named an honorary Legionnaire 1st Class in 1933 for his illustrations and given the matricule number 12,002.


About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
This entry was posted in Art & Illustration, Uniforms. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Some Benigni

  1. Ralph Wagner says:

    You do a great job Jack! The Mexicians celebrate Cinco De Mino, France the Cameroon, and we “Remember the Alamo”. One victory and two losses. Go figure!


    • Jack Wagner says:

      Thanks Ralph, I never noticed these three together. Cinco De Mayo was a loss by the French (Puebla) as was Camerone and the Alamo was a loss for the Americans. So there are three wins for the Mexicans when you think about it.


  2. Peter says:

    Great posts as usually, I am a fan 🙂


  3. villou16 says:

    I found this. Might be interresting. file:///C:/Users/oville/Downloads/Osprey%20-%20WAR%20157%20-%20French%20Foreign%20Legionnaire%201890-1914%20(1).pdf


  4. villou16 says:

    And this one too: file:///C:/Users/oville/Downloads/Osprey%20-%20MAA%20509%20-%20French%20Foreign%20Legion%201831-71.pdf


  5. Pingback: Some Benigni – Comparama

  6. William says:

    Is there a database where one can research the names of Legionnaires of the past, plus their matricules?


    • Jack Wagner says:

      I’m not aware of anything online other than the Records of French War Dead which I think goes up to the end of the Indochina War. I’ve heard that the Legion itself keeps meticulous records on those who served. You might have to provide dates and the names you think someone might have used to enlist. IIRC they do occasionally answer queries from people doing research on relatives.


  7. William says:

    In the “golden age” of the Legion, what was the standard format for matricules? Were they all four or five digits? I’ve heard different accounts, and the Ospreys I’ve got aren’t all too clear on that point.


    • William says:

      After having read Windrow, it looks like the FFL used 5-digit numbers, whereas the Bats d’Af used four-digits.


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