Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 - 1904) was a French painter and sculptor, known for his highly accomplished academic style. A student of Paul Delaroche, he attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and exhibited frequently at the Paris Salon with great success, earning himself numerous medals. Regarded as one of the initiators of the Neo-Greek style, his works were of great influence to the Parisian art world of the nineteenth century.
Although today best known as a painter of historical and mythological subjects, he created a large number of exceptional sculptures, many of which were exhibited to great acclaim at the Great Exhibitions of the period. His first work was a large bronze statue of a gladiator holding his foot on his victim, shown to the public at the 1878 Exposition Universelle. This bronze was based on the main theme of his painting Pollice verso (1872). The same year he exhibited a marble statue at the 1878 Salon, based on his early painting Anacreon, Bacchus and Cupid (1848).
Among his other works are Omphale (1887), and the statue of the Duc d'Aumale (1899) which stands in front of the Château de Chantilly. His life-size statue Bellona (1892), in ivory, bronze and gemstones, attracted great attention at the exhibition in the Royal Academy of London. The artist then began an interesting series of 'conquerors', wrought in gold, silver and gems entitled Bonaparte Entering Cairo (1897); Tamerlane (1898); and Frederick the Great (1899).
Works by Gérôme are now in the collections of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris; the John Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia; the National Gallery, London, and many more leading institutions worldwide.
Ackerman, G.M , La vie et l'oeuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme, ACR Edition Internationale, Courbevoie, France, 1992.
Meyer, Jonathan, Great Exhibitions - London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collectors' Club, (Woodbridge.UK), 2006, p.236.