PIERRE PUVIS DE CHAVANNES 1824-1898 French Mural Painter
JEAN LÉON GÉRÔME 1824-1904 Semi-Classical School of France
PUVIS was a lover of Virgil; Gérôome, very partial to subjects derived from ancient Rome. Yet, despite their classical tendencies, no two men could have been more different in their motives and methods; so that a comparison of the two will help to bring out very sharply the characteristics of each. Let us approach them first of all through the examples here illustrated.
Gérôme's reproduces that moment in the gladiatorial sports of the Colosseum when one of the combatants has been defeated and the victor looks toward the galleries. The vestal virgins turn down their thumbs; if the emperor follows suit, woe to the vanquished! Both the title and the manner of representation record very clearly a precise incident of actual fact. But in Puvis's neither title nor treatment has a definite reference to facts; the painting is concerned with an idea, namely, the relation of the arts to nature. Its subject is an ideal one; its rendering idealized.
Let us examine the two more closely. Gérôome's pic-