Jean Paul Laurens Biography | Oil Paintings
3-28-1838 Fourquevaux, FRA - 3-23-1921 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Jean Paul Laurens was strongly anti-clerical and a republican, his work was often on historical and religious subjects, inspired by scenes from Medieval and Byzantine history, through which he tried to pass on a message of opposition to monarchical and the churches mistreatment and oppression. Jean Paul Laurens first studied at the l'École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse, he later went to Paris to study with Léon Cogniet and Alexandre Bida at l'École des Beaux-Arts.
His intellect and technical painting mastery were much admired in his time, but in later years his realistic technique, coupled with theatrical design aspects came to be viewed by some art-historians as overly intending to teach a moral lesson. More recently, however, his work has been re-assessed as an essential and unique renewal of history painting, a genre of painting that was in decline during Laurens' lifetime.
Jean Paul Laurens was commissioned to paint many public works by the French Third Republic, including the vault of the Paris City Hall, the monumental series on the life of Saint Genevieve in the Pantheon in Paris, the ceiling of the Odéon Theater, and the hall of distinguished citizens at the Toulouse Capitol. He also did illustrations for Augustin Thierry's, Récits des Temps Mérovingiens ("Accounts of Merovingian Times").
Jean Paul Laurens was highly regarded as a painting professor at both the Académie Julian, and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he taught André Dunoyer de Segonzac and George Barbier. Two of his sons, Paul Albert Laurens and Jean-Pierre Laurens, both became artists and teachers at the Académie Julian.
In 1870, the year when the newly created Kingdom of Italy carried out the Capture of Rome and put an end to the Pope's secular power over Italy, Jean Paul Laurens made the historical painting of the Pope Formosus And Stephen VII The Cadaver Synod, Cadaver Trial an infamous Medieval event reflecting badly on the Papacy's manipulations and reputation. It was a politically motivated sham, Pope Stephen VI ordered that the corpse of Pope Formosus, his predecessor, be removed from its tomb and brought for judgment. In the papal court, the corpse was dressed in papal regalia, then propped up on a throne, to stand trial. A deacon was appointed to answer for the dead pontiff, Pope Formosus was found guilty and his papacy declared null.
Art Movement: Academic.
Artists Influencing Paul Laurens: Léon Cogniet, Alexandre Bida.
Painters Jean Paul Laurens Influenced: André Dunoyer de Segonzac, George Barbier, Ludwig Deutsch.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.