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    • Paul Delaroche (1797-1856)


        French Painter

        Paul Delaroche was an exact contemporary of Delacroix, who achieved great fame in his lifetime as a painter of historical subjects, but his melodramatic Romanticism shows the decline of history painting into illustration. This happened in England and Germany, as well as France, during the l9th century.

        He studied under Gros in 1818, and was elected to the Institut in 1832, in sharp contrast to Delacroix, and became a professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1833, inheriting Gros's studio after his suicide in 1835. Delaroche visited Italy in 1834-5, marrying Horace Vemet's sister in Rome, and was again in Italy in 1838 and 1843. Between 1837 and 1841 he painted the hemicycle in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, depicting the history of art from Antiquity to the 18th century by means of a huge group of artists, based on more or less authentic self-portraits (or frankly imaginary ones). His early fame rested on the series of English and French historical subjects - The Death of Queen Elizabeth, 1827, The Little Princes in the Tower, 1831 (both in the Louvre); The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1833: London, NG); The Murder of the Duc de Guise (1835: Chantilly, and watercolour replica London, Wallace Coll.) and much of his success derived from the lucrative sale of engravings after these subjects; he was not averse to the occasional bondieuserie. He was also a fine portrait painter.

        Other works are in French museums and in Baltimore (Walters), and Cambridge Mass. (Fogg).

      • Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (Penguin Reference Books)


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Updated: 2006