Jean-Léon-Gérôme (1824-1904) was a French painter, sculptor and teacher, one of the most prominent in the late 19th-century. His multiple paintings include historical, mythological and erotic renditions, specifically academic art influenced by the standards of the ‘Académie des Beaux-Arts’ (Academy of Fine Arts).

This painting is titled ‘Pollice Verso’ (1872), which popularized the “thumbs down” gesture. It is an oil on canvas located in the Phoenix Art Museum, in Phoenix, Arizona in the U.S.

His paintings were widely reproduced resulting in his being considered “arguably the world’s most famous living artist by 1880”.

In 1865 he was elected a member of the ‘Institut de France’ (Institute of France) and then four years later he was elected an honorary member of the British Royal Academy. The King of Prussia, Wilhelm I, awarded him the Grand Order of the Red Eagle, Third Class.

His influence became extensive and he was a regular guest of Empress Eugénie at the Imperial Court in Compiegne, located in northern France. Along with the most eminent French artists, he was invited to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

Gérôme’s prodigious energy, long career and wide popularity resulted in an enormous body of work that now resides in museums and private collections around the world. Approximately 700 of his paintings and 70 sculptures have been catalogued.

He died in Paris, France at the age of 79.

More Info: