Antoine-Jean (1771-1835). French painter. He trained with his father, a
miniaturist and then with Jacques-Louis David.Although he revered David and
became one of his favorite pupils, Gros had a passionate nature and he was
drawn more to the color and vibrancy of Rubens and the great Venetian painters
than to the Neoclassical purity of his master.
1793 Gros went to Italy, where he met Napoleon and was appointed his official
battle painter. He followed Napoleon on his campaigns, and his huge paintings
such as The Battle of Eylau (Louvre, Paris, 1808) are among the most stirring
images of the Napoleonic era. Compared to the contemporary war scenes of Goya,
they are glamorous lies, but they are painted with such dramatic skill and
panache that they cannot but be admired on their own terms.
David went into exile after the fall of Napoleon, Gros took over his studio,
and tried to work in a more consciously Neoclassical style. He never again
approached the quality of his Napoleonic pictures, however (although he painted
excellent portraits), and haunted by a sense of failure he drowned himself in
is regarded as one of the leading figures in the development of Romanticism;
the color and drama of his work influenced Gйricault, Delacroix, and his pupil
Bonington amongst others.
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