Today's Featured Biography
In the Paris Salon of 1847, a small picture appeared, representing a Greek boy and girl stirring up two game-cocks to fight. Although it was the work of an unknown painter, and had to contend with an unusually brilliant display of pictures, many of them by men already famous, yet it strongly attracted the general public, partly by the novelty of the subject, and partly by the careful and finished manner of the painting. It delighted the critics as well, and one of the most distinguished of them, Theophile Gautier, wrote: "A new Greek is born to us, and his name is Gerome!"
This picture, which was to prove the first leaf in a laurel-crown to be awarded the painter in his lifetime, and not, as is so often the case, by the tardy hand of Death, was the work of Jean-Leon Gerome, a young man of twenty-three. He had been for six years under the teaching of Paul Delaroche, part of the time in Italy, but most of it in Paris. He was born at Vesoul, a small, dull town in the Department of Haute-Saone, in 1824. His father was a goldsmith, who, like most French fathers in his rank of life, had hoped to bring up his son to succeed him in his business. The boy did for a time, we believe, work in his father's shop, but he had a stronger natural bent for painting; something perhaps in the occupation fostered, or even created, this taste--for not a few distinguished painters have been apprenticed to the goldsmith's trade--and his father, like a wise man, instead of opposing his so...
...read more of the Biography of Gerome