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interns of yesteryear

Depictions Of Slaves

by French historical painter Jean-Léon Gérôme

In the early-to-mid 1800’s Jean-Léon Gérôme was as fine a visual conveyor of historical events as there ever was. If he had been alive 100 years later and painted contemporary events he would have blown away the likes of Norman Rockwell and other popular magazine illustrators. Although some details, like the equipment of the gladiators in Pollice Verso (1872), are known to be inaccurate from current archeological data, his representations of human interaction in the ancient world are without flaw.

On a side note — I seem to remember seeing a version of The Slave Market somewhere on the internet once that had Britney Spears brushed in as the center of the scene. Really wish I could find that again… ~RR

From Wikipedia:

Born at Vesoul (Haute-Saône), he went to Paris in 1840 where he studied under Paul Delaroche, whom he accompanied to Italy (1843-1844). He visited Florence, Rome, the Vatican and Pompeii, but he was more attracted to the world of nature. Taken by a fever, he was forced to return to Paris in 1844. On his return he followed, like many other students of Delaroche, into the atelier of Charles Gleyre and studied there for a brief time. He then attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1846 he tried to enter the prestigious Prix de Rome, but failed in the final stage because his figure drawing was inadequate.

He tried to improve his skills by painting The Cockfight (1846), an academic exercise depicting a nude young man and a lightly draped girl with two fighting cocks and in the background the Bay of Naples. He sent this painting to the Salon of 1847, where it gained him a third-class medal. This work was seen as the epitome of the Neo-Grec movement that had formed out of Gleyre’s studio (such as Henri-Pierre Picou (1824-1895) and Jean-Louis Hamon), and was championed by the influential French critic Theophile Gautier.

Click the pics for a slightly larger version. Below: Pollice Verso

Selling Slaves in Rome

The Slave Market

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