Alexandre Cabanel

Portrait of Countess de Keller (marquise de Saint Yves d’Alveydre - 1895), 1873

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About the Artist

Alexandre Cabanel (b Montpellier, 28 Sept 1823; d Paris, 23 Jan 1889) was a French painter and teacher. His skill in drawing was apparently evident by the age of 11. His father could not afford his training, but in 1839 his departement gave him a grant to go to Paris. This enabled him to register at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts the following October as a pupil of Fran?ois-Edouard Picot. At his first Salon in 1843 he presented Agony in the Garden (Valenciennes, Mus. B.-A.) and won second place in the Prix de Rome competition (after L?on B?nouville, also a pupil of Picot) in 1845 with Christ at the Praetorium (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). Both Cabanel and B?nouville were able to go to Rome, as there was a vacancy from the previous year. Cabanel's Death of Moses (untraced), an academic composition, painted to comply with the regulations of the Ecole de Rome, was exhibited at the Salon of 1852. The pictures he painted for Alfred Bruyas, his chief patron at this time (and, like Cabanel, a native of Montpellier), showed more clearly the direction his art had taken during his stay in Italy. Albayd?, Angel of the Evening, Chiarruccia and Velleda (all in Montpellier, Mus. Fabre) were the first of many mysterious or tragic heroines painted by Cabanel and show his taste for the elegiac types and suave finish of the Florentine Mannerists.