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.
Mephistopheles (the devil) makes a bet with the Lord that he can lead his faithful servant Faust astray. Faust has grown weary of scholarship, and is looking for something better.
Viewed as classic and fit for narrative painting, Faust is about good and evil, a powerful story which has inspired powerful paintings.
Stories of the lives of Alexander, Julius Caesar, Phocion, and Cato the Younger, with superb paintings by Gérôme, Poussin, and others. And some lessons for today.
A Roman who stuck to his principles and fought corruption, bribery, and the seizing of power by Caesar. What could be more appropriate when you live in troubled times?
Two paintings showing Salome. In one, she dances for Herod, and asks for the head of John the Baptist. In the other, she tries to stare out the severed head.
Trained by Laurens at the Académie Julian, he was a superb history painter, quite Impressionist, and a founding father of Venezuelan art.
Also a grim story of suicidal disembowelling, and a propaganda painting for Napoleon.
With his Salon style and fascination in mediaeval history, did he make history painting history?