Paul Delaroche France

7-17-1797 Paris, FRA – 11-4-1856 Paris, FRA

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Delaroche, Paul

Paul Delaroche was born, worked, and died in Paris. His subjects were painted with a firm, solid, smooth surface, which gave an appearance of the highest finish.

Delaroche's paintings, with their straightforward technique and dramatic compositions, became very popular. He applied essentially the same treatment to the characters of distant historical times, the founders of Christianity, and various figures of his own day such as Napoleon.

Paul Delaroche's work sometimes contained historical inaccuracies. Cromwell lifting the coffin-lid and looking at the Body of Charles is based on an urban legend, and The Execution of Lady Jane Grey is represented as taking place in a dungeon, which is badly inaccurate. He tended to care more about dramatic effect than historical truth.

Delaroche's love for Horace Vernet's daughter Louise was the absorbing passion of his life. He married Louise in 1835, in which year he also exhibited Head of an Angel, which was based on a study of her. It is said that Delaroche never recovered from the shock of her death in 1845 at the age of 31.

In 1837 Paul Delaroche received the commission for the great picture that came to be known as the Hémicycle, a Raphaelesque tableau influenced by The School of Athens. This was a mural 27 meters (88.5 ft) long. The painting represents seventy-five great artists of all ages.

The painting is not fresco but done directly on the wall in oil. Paul Delaroche finished the work in 1841, but it was considerably damaged by a fire in 1855. He immediately set about trying to re-paint and restore the work, but died November 1856, before he had accomplished much of this. The restoration was finished by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury.

Art Movement: Academic
Influences: Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros
Traveled: Italy
Influenced: Henry Mark Anthony, Edward Armitage, Charles Lucy, Alfred Boisseau
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