Jean-Léon Gérôme was a French academic painter and sculptor who blended academic painting with various genres, such as historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, and so on. He was especially famous for combining two of the most popular artistic movements of 19th-century work, Neoclassicism and Orientalism, and was regarded as one of the most important painters at that time.
Life and Career
On May 11, 1824, Gérôme was born as the son of a goldsmith in Vesoul, France. He took drawing lessons from Neoclassical painter Basil Cariage, a former student of Jean-August-Dominique Ingres. He was very talented in painting and won his first prize for painting in 1838 when he was 14 years old. In 1840, he studied at the studio of Paul Delaroche and the studio of Charles Gleyre in 1844. He later attended the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1846, he tried to win the Prix de Rome but failed. In the following year, Gérôme exhibited his work, Cock Fight, at the Paris Salon. He won a Third Class medal at the Salon, and the painting was so well-received that he felt no need to win the Prix de Rome.
Gérôme’s trip to Istanbul to prepare the work, The Age of Augustus, the Birth of Christ in 1853, and his trip to Egypt three years later sparked his interest in Orientalism. He created many Orientalist works and gained huge success.
Gérôme started to create sculptures when he was 55 years old. His sculpture works include Omphale and Metallurgical Worker and Metallurgical Science.
Later Years and Death
In his later years, Gérôme was very critical of Impressionism. His popularity fell, and he was accused of being too commercial. On January 10, 1904, Gérôme died in his studio at the age of 79, in front of a portrait of Rembrandt.