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Jean-Paul Laurens


French, Academic Classicists  Painter and Sculptor

Stylistically influenced by the following painters - Adolphe-William  Bouguereau and Thomas Couture

Education - studied under Léon Cogniet and Alexandre Bida

Laurens was one of the most gifted painters of the French Academic style. He excelled in classically inspired religious and historical scenes. He was a professor at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he was well regarded for his intellect and application of theoretical knowledge According to French art historian W. C. Brownell, "An historical painter like Jean Paul Laurens, interested as he is in the memorable moments and dramatic incidents of the past, and exhibiting as he does, first of all, a sense of what is ideally forceful and heroic, is nevertheless clearly concerned for the realistic value of his representation far more than a generation ago he would have been."

Laurens style was influenced by the high standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Academic Classicism attempted to merge both techniques to create the perfect style. The movement is characterized by an emphasis on simplicity, proportion, and restrained emotion.

Although Laurens vigorously opposed monarchical and religious censorship he secured important commissions including the apse of the Panthéon and the mural ceiling of the Odéon Theater.

About the Academic Classicism Painting Style

Followers of this movement were influenced by the high standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and RomanticismAcademic Classicism attempted to merge both techniques to create the perfect style. It is characterized by adhering to a strict manner of painting, following narrow compositional rules and delicacy of color. The atmospheric effects are sumptuously 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."

Explanation of the Jean Paul Laurens Academic Classicism Painting style
Laurens styled his painting technique on the rigid academic standards set forth by the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. French 
Academic Classicism endeavored to join together the Neoclassicism and Romanticism styles into one perfect style. Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, one of the greatest Academic Classicists observed, "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."

Themes used in Rococo art such as historical and mythalogical were once again in vogue. This style favored interpretations of Greek, Roman and Renaissance themes.  Imagery often centered around Biblical stories, Arthurian legends and mythology According 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. 

The greatest painters associated with Academic Classicism, William Bouguereau, Paul Delaroche and Jean-Leon Gerome, had an extraordinary way of capturing nature's passionate, "feral" qualities and yet, at the same time, create in the viewer an almost inspirational feeling of harmony and serenity. High drama, blithe sophistication, and unrequited passion characterize this magnificent painting style.

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

Important Terms, 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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