– The un-burial of Melanie Hahnemann (M. Grimes)

Melanie grew up during the Restoration, and was in the center of the artistic, political and intellectual circles in Paris. She was 15 when she was sent to live with her painting teacher, Guillaume Guillon- Lethiere. He was the third son of a baron who had studied with Deschamps and a friend of the well-known sculptor, David. Two of Lethiere’s paintings now hang in the Louvre. His patron was Lucien Bonaparte, brother to the Emperor. He was a professor at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and a member of the Legion d’ Honneur. Melanie painted mostly realistic oil portraits, typical of the women artists of her day. Though some have questioned her artistic abilities, Rima Handley says, “She was not merely an accomplished dilettante, as Haele suggests.” Several of her paintings were exhibited at the Louvre between 1822 and 1824. She won a gold medal, presented to her by Charles X, for a painting in one of those exhibits. Only two of her paintings remain known today. One is a lithograph of the Greek hero Leonidas, published in 1825, accompanied by a poem written by her on the subject of Greek independence. The other is her portrait of Hahnemann in 1835, painted three months after their marriage.
 Melanie was also involved, as was most of France at that time, in politics. Her brother, Charles, went to America with the Marquis de Lafayette. She referred to Lafayette as “the apostle of liberty” (Handley 36, ft 19). Her friendship with Louis-Jerome Gohier dates from this period. He had been Minister of Justice when the Jacobins held power in the National Convention. After the fall of Robespierre, he escaped the guillotine, becoming part of the third Directory (Cabinet). Eventually he became its president, and thereby the President of the Republic. Melanie called him “the last President of the Republic.” When the last Directory Government was overthrown by Bonaparte in 1799, Gohier was sent to Holland. He returned to Paris in 1810, and died in 1830. Melanie buried him in her own family plot at Montmartre. Because of the inspiration she had been to him, he willed to her money and his name, saying,”I should have been proud had I been able to adopt her, but as I was so fortunate as to be a father, it was not admissible. I would have offered her my hand, if her inclination to art, the only passion which so happily dominated her, would have allowed her to accept it” (Handley 45). Giving her his name was quite a compliment. She did use his name until her marriage with Hahnemann, but did not, however, accept any of his money.
 Abbey Gregoire, yet another powerful man, was another of her friends from this period. He was a member of the Council of Five Hundred (lower chamber of the parliament) in the last days of the Republic.
 Her literary mentor was Francois-Guillaume-Jean- Stanislaus-Andrieux, a professor at the Ecole Polytechnique and the College de France. He wrote his last poem “Hyme à sainte Melanie” in praise of Melanie, which begins
 O sainte Melanie!
 Soyez soyez benie?
 Vos miracles sont doux:
 Vous calmez la souffrance
 Vous donnez l’esperance
 Dieu même est avec vous?
 (Handley 42 )
 Another of her friends was Neopumene Lemercier, Napoleon’s favorite playwright. Melanie’s two primary mentors before Hahnemann were Lethiere and Gohier. Lethiere died in 1832. As his children had died before him, it fell to Melanie to bury him. Which she did, once again, in her plot at Montmartre. A simple plaque reads, “Lethiere, paintre” (Lethiere, painter). Melanie became guardian to Lethiere’s grandchildren, Ea and Charles, who came to live with her after his death. Charles was later to become a loyal companion, and her pharmacist during her years as a homeopath.
 Gohier’s place in her family tomb is not marked. Previous historical records have suggested that Gohier and Lethiere were her husbands. This is typical of the misunderstanding of this unusual woman and her unusual friendships.
 After the deaths of Gohier and Lethiere, Melanie’s own health was impaired and she could no longer paint. After reading the recently translated Organon, in French, she went to Germany to find Hahnemann and be cured. He proposed to her three days after their meeting, and three months later, they were married. 
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Dr.Devendra Kumar MD(Homeo)
International Homeopathic Consultant at Ushahomeopathy
I am a Homeopathic Physician. I am practicing Homeopathy since 20 years. I treat all kinds of Chronic and Acute complaints with Homeopathic Medicines. Even Emergency conditions can be treated with Homeopathy if case is properly managed. know more about me and my research on my blog https://www.homeoresearch.com/about-me/
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