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Thomas Couture

"Knowing how to paint and to use one's colors rightly has not any connection with originality. This originality consists in properly expressing your own impressions." -- Thomas Couture


Education - École des Beaux-Arts

Thomas Couture Biography and Information

Thomas Couture not only handsome and dashing but also a brilliant and innovative painter. He was driven to succeed from a young age and devoted his life to teaching art and creating splendid masterpieces. A true master of Academic Classicism, Couture, had an extraordinary way of revealing a subjects sensual, "natural" qualities and yet, at the same time, create in the viewer an almost theatrical feeling of high drama. Historical accuracy, blithe elegance, and an ethereal atmosphere characterize his brilliant painting style. Thomas Couture's work varies from sensual mythological themes that are often distinguished by sophisticated brushwork, to self-consciously romantic themes of mysterious unrequited love. He was known as the quintessential "artiste" and encouraged the elegant tastes and decadent diversions of his wealthy patrons.

Description of the Academic Classicism Painting style
Followers of this movement strictly fowllowed the rigid academic standards set forth by the French Académie des Beaux-Arts,
Academic Classicism attempted to merge both Neoclassicism and Romanticism styles into one perfect style. Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, one of the greatest painters of the style stated, "The movement of natural elements cannot be captured by the brush: to paint lightning, a gust of wind, or the splash of a wave from nature is inconceivable."

Academic Classicism Painting style is characterized by adhering to a strict manner of painting, following narrow compositional rules and delicacy of color. The atmospheric effects are sumptuouly luminescent. According to art historian, Walter Pater "To produce such effects at all requires all the resources of painting, with its power of indirect expression, of subordinate but significant detail, its atmosphere, its foregrounds and backgrounds."

Subject matter often used in Rococo art such historical and genre pictures was fashionable once again. This style favored interpretations of Greek, Roman and Renaissance themes.  Imagery often centered around Biblical stories, Arthurian legends and mythologyAccording to Solomon Gessner, the great German painter and art historian, "By studying the works of Greek sculptors the painter can attain the sublimest conceptions of beauty, and learn what must be added to nature in order to give to the imitation dignity and propriety. 

Famous Painters of Academic Classicists Movement

 Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, 1817-1900

Adolphe-William  Bouguereau1825-1905

Charles Emile August  Carolus-Duran, 1837-1917

Leon Francois Comerre,  1850-1916

Pierre-Auguste  Cot 1837-1883

Thomas Couture, 1815-1879

Paul Delaroche 1797-1856

Eugene Fromentin,  1820-1876

Jean Leon Gerome,  1824-1904

 Jean-Paul Laurens1838-1921

 Adolphe Alexandre Lesrel,  1839-1929

Luc Olivier Merson,  1846-1920

Hans Makart,  1840 - 1884

Giulio Rosati,  1858-1917

 Franz Xavier  Winterhalter, 1805-1873

William Clarke Wontner, 1857-1930

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the
Academic Classicism Painting Style -
Classicism, rigid Academic standards, ancient Greece, Rome, Herculaneum, Pompeii, neoclassicism, romantic movement, European academies, French Académie des Beaux-Arts, Romanticism, academism, academicism, accademic training, highly romantic, inspired by historical and mythological stories, L'art pompier, the Grand Tour, eclecticism, classical realism, historicism, 19th century, syncretism, academician, Victorian Classicism



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