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Gustave Moreau

1826 - 1898

Moreau was born in Paris and trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. The work of Delacroix – and that of Theodore Chassériau, who was an admirer of Delacroix's and a friend of Moreau's – was a great influence on his development. He visited Italy (1857–9) and developed an interest in Byzantine art and the primitive Italian painters.

Moreau sought to perpetuate the traditions of religious and mythological painting, at a time when naturalism was becoming increasingly dominant. Hostile criticism of his work caused him to exhibit only intermittently at the Salon, though later he was elected a member of the Academy. He also taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1892, winning the admiration of students, who included Matisse and Georges Rouault. He was a leading painter of the French Symbolist movement.