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Paul Delaroche

1797 - 1856

Delaroche was one of the most popular French painters of the early 19th century. He was born in Paris and trained by Watelet and by the famous history painter Baron Gros (from 1818). Géricault encouraged him.

He first exhibited at the Salon in 1822. 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' was enthusiastically received when exhibited at the Salon in 1834. Three years later, however, hostile criticism of the works he submitted discouraged Delaroche from exhibiting again at the Salon.

Delaroche continued to specialise in large historical tableaux, often of a tragic nature and characterised by close attention to fine detail. He also painted portraits and religious subjects. During his lifetime his work received wider international acclaim than the paintings of Ingres and Delacroix , now considered greater masters.

A retrospective exhibition of Delaroche's work was held in 1857, when the critic Théophile Gautier condemned the largely literary character of his style.