Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme (11 May 1824 – 10 January 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits, and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax. He is considered one of the most important painters from this academic period, and in addition to being a painter, he was also a teacher with a long list of students.
In 1852, Gérôme received a commission by Alfred Emilien Comte de Nieuwerkerke, Surintendant des Beaux-Arts to the court of Napoleon III, for the painting of a large historical canvas, the Age of Augustus. In this canvas he combines the birth of Christ with conquered nations paying homage to Augustus. Thanks to a considerable down payment, he was able to travel in 1853 to Constantinople, together with the actor Edmond Got. This would be the first of several travels to the East: in 1854 he made another journey to Greece and Turkey and the shores of the Danube, where he was present at a concert of Russian conscripts, making music under the threat of a lash.
In 1856, he visited Egypt for the first time. This would herald the start of many orientalist paintings depicting Arab religion, genre scenes and North African landscapes.

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