French painter, was born on the 11th of May 1824
at Vesoul (Haute-Saône). He went to Paris in 1841 and worked under
Paul Delaroche, whom he accompanied to Italy (1844–1845). On
his return he exhibited The Cock-fight, which gained him a
third-class medal in the Salon of 1847. The Virgin with Christ and St
John and Anacreon, Bacchus and Cupid took a second-class medal in
1848. He exhibited Bacchus and Love, Drunk, a Greek Interior and
Souvenir d'Italie, in 1851; Paestum (1852); and An Idyll (1853).
In 1854 Gérôme made a journey to Turkey
and the shores of the Danube, and in 1857 visited Egypt. To the
exhibition of 1855 he contributed a Pifferaro, A Shepherd, A Russian
Concert and a large historical canvas, The Age of Augustus and the
Birth of Christ. The last was somewhat confused in effect, but in
recognition of its consummate ability the State purchased it.
Gérôme's reputation was greatly enhanced at the Salon
of 1857 by a collection of works of a more popular kind: the Duel:
after a Masquerade, Egyptian Recruits crossing the Desert, Memnon and
Sesostris and Camels Watering, the drawing of which was criticized by
Edmond About. In Caesar (1859) Gérôme tried to return to a
severer class of work, but the picture failed to interest the public.
Phryne before the Areopagus, Le Roi Candaule and Socrates finding
Alcibiades in the House of Aspasia (1861) gave rise to some scandal
by reason of the subjects selected by the painter, and brought down
on him the bitter attacks of Paul de Saint-Victor and Maxime Ducamps.
At the same Salon he exhibited the Egyptian chopping Straw, and
Rembrandt biting an Etching, two very minutely finished works.
Gérôme's best paintings are of Eastern subjects;
among these may be named the Turkish Prisoner and Turkish Butcher
(1863); Prayer (1865); The Slave Market (1867); and The Harem out
Driving (1869). He often illustrated history, as in Louis XIV. and
Moliere (1863); The Reception of the Siamese Ambassadors at
Fontainebleau (1865); and The Death of Marshal Ney (1868).
Gérôme was also successful as a
sculptor; he executed, among other works; Omphale (1887), and the
statue of the due d'Aumale which stands in front of the chateau
of Chantilly (1899). His Bellona (1892), in ivory, metal, and
precious stones, which was also exhibited in the Royal Academy of
London, attracted great attention. The artist then began an
interesting series of Conquerors, wrought in gold, silver and gems
— Bonaparte entering Cairo (1897); Tamerlane (1898) and
Frederick the Great (1899). Gérôme was elected member of
the Institut in 1865. He died in 1904.