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Jean-Léon Gérôme, 'Portrait of Armand Gérôme', 1848

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Armand Gérôme
Artist Jean-Léon Gérôme
Artist dates 1824 - 1904
Date made 1848
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 50.2 × 43.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917, The National Gallery, London. In partnership with Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
Inventory number NG3251
Location On loan: Long Loan to The Hugh Lane (2019 - 2031), Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin, Ireland
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Armand Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme

This portrait by Jean-Léon Gérôme is of his younger brother, Claude-Armand, who is dressed in the uniform of the École Polytechnique, a prestigious school of higher education in Paris. It is related to an almost full-length portrait that was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1848 and which is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Claude-Armand was 21 when the portrait was painted, but died of meningitis only two years later. Gérôme may have painted the smaller portrait as a preparatory study for the full version, or as a commemorative image after his brother’s death.

Both paintings display Gérôme’s skill as a portraitist as he captures the slight droop on Armand’s left eyelid and perhaps just a hint of youthful arrogance. The smooth application of the paint in thin glazes, the minute attention to details of clothing and Claude-Armand’s cool reserve recall portraits by Ingres, whom Gérôme greatly admired.

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