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(b Vesoul, nr. Besançon, 11 May 1824; d Paris, 10 Jan. 1904). French painter and (in his later career) sculptor. He was a pupil of Paul Delaroche and inherited his highly finished academic style, with which he had a career of great public success. Lorenz Eitner writes that ‘In the variety and sensationalism of his subjects…Gérôme…surpassed all his rivals at the Salon—murder in the Roman Senate and carnage in the gladiatorial arena; luscious nudity at the slave auction or the harem bath; Bonaparte contemplating the Sphinx, and Molière breakfasting with Louis XIV—all served equally well for his carefully plotted picture-plays, graced with sex, spiced with gore, and polished into waxwork lifelikeness by a technique that his admirers took for realism’ (An Outline of 19th Century European Painting, 1987).

Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)