Thursday, May 11, 2017

Born Today May 11: Jean-Léon Gérôme


French academic artist Jean-Léon Gérôme was born on this day in Vesoul, France.  In 1840 he went to Paris to study under painter Paul Delaroche; the two made a teaching trip to Italy--visiting major cities and The Vatican, the pair even made a trip to Pompeii.  Gérôme, however, developed a dangerous fever and was forced to return to France in 1844.  He then became a fixture in the studio of resident Swiss artist Charles Gleyre; his stay there, though, was brief.  He then moved on to study at the Prix de Rome, but failed to graduate.  This was a blow to him personally at the time, but would prove short lived due to that fact that he found renown and fame soon after.  His subjects within the movement of Academic Art were quite varied; ranging from portraits, flirting with Oriental subjects, Greek Mythology, historical works and works depicting nature.  Though primarily remembered as a painter, Gérôme was also a sculptor.  His medium was primarily bronze, though he did experiment with the developing art of working with tinted marble.  As far as why he is being written up here, stems from his influence over one motion picture.  Usually, artists have credits in films that actually show case their works.  In Gérôme's case, we have a rare case where one of his works inspired a scenario for a film, where he receives a "writer" credit.  The film is The Slave Market and the scenario for the film is based on his painting The Slave Market In Rome.  It is a later American Mutoscope and Biograph production that dates from 1920.  It is a short film that interestingly is in the 1:36:1 aspect ratio.  Gérôme died in his studio in Paris on the 10th of February in 1904 at the age of 79.  He is buried in Paris' Montmartre Cemetery in front of a bronze statue he called Sorrow that he had cast for his son upon his death in 1891.  Please follow the Wikipedia link below for lots more!

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