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Antoine-Jean

Gros

Artistic period 1801 to 1850

Nationality

French

Birth

1771 (Paris)

Death

1835 (Meudon)

Biography

Antoine-Jean Gros (* 16 March 1771 in Paris; † 26 June 1835 near Meudon) was a French classicist painter.

Gros is known for his historical paintings, which record Napoleon I's rise. His father Jean Antoine Gros (1732-1786) was a well-known miniature painter and taught his son. From 1785 Gros studied with Jacques-Louis David, from 1787 he attended the École de L'Académie de Peinture. After his father's death and the French Revolution, he was forced to earn money and painted portraits and mythological scenes. 1793 he fled to Italy, after he was suspected of royalistic activities, and lived until 1794 in Genoa and Florence, two further years exclusively in Genoa. 1796 he met Napoleon Bonaparte for the first time in Milan, who gave him the order for the painting Napoleon on the bridge of Arcole, which originated in two versions 1796 and 1797.

In 1799 Gros returned to France via Antibes and Marseille and from then on painted with great success realistic battle pictures glorifying Napoleon's wartime deeds, as well as portraits. From 1811 to 1824 he was busy painting the Pantheon dome; from 1827 to 1833 he created a ceiling painting for the Louvre.

With his work Napoléon auf dem Schlachtfeld von Preußisch-Eylau (1808, Louvre) he won a competition organized by D. V. Dermont; today the painting is regarded as Gros´ Hauptwerk. Another important work by the painter is the painting commissioned by the King and now in the Musée National de Versailles by Louis XVIII, Farewell to his Faithful (1817). It was Gros´'s last large historical painting with epic character.

As David's successor, Gros is regarded as the main representative of the classical school, fought by the Romantics. After depression he committed suicide in a branch of the Seine in 1835. He was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery.