Following the Paris Commune of 1871, history painters resorted to indirect reference in paintings of obscure episodes in mediaeval history.
More extraordinary tales from French and European history told in his paintings.
He was probably the last traditional history painter in Europe. This selection of his works is accompanied by full explanations of the history behind each.
A look forward to the eclectic collection of painters whose anniversaries I’ll be marking here, and a glimpse of some of the paintings to come. Happy New Year!
A battle in which the Romans were overwhelmingly defeated, used later as an icon of German nationalism. And the vicious murder of the wife of the emperor Claudius.
More women reading, from Dante’s beloved Beatrice to Charlotte Corday, who was psyching herself up with Plutarch’s Lives before murdering Marat in his bath.
Caesar and Cleopatra in Egypt, the suicide of Cato the Younger, Caesar’s triumphs, and the development of a conspiracy to assassinate Caesar.
At the start of the 20th century, he painted huge canvases for major public buildings, including a series for Toulouse’s palatial capitol.
Painting Symbolist works in Divisionist style, he’s normally excluded from both movements, despite his success at the time.
His two paintings of Salome shown at the 1876 Salon are dominated if not overwhelmed by their symbols. They are the watershed in his art.