Academic and Romantic Painters
In the first half of the 19th century, the academic teachings of the official art schools dominated European painting. Drawing the human body was central to the curriculum at these institutions. Students began their training by copying plaster casts of sculptures, and then progressed to life drawing classes. The goal of this education was to produce painters who could execute large-scale compositions of historical, mythological and religious subjects. Such paintings captured public attention when shown at official exhibitions, such as the Paris Salon or the Royal Academy in London.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a particularly talented draughtsman whose paintings epitomised the classical and refined academic manner, then in official favour throughout Europe. The precise, linear styles of Francesco Hayez, Ary Scheffer and Frederic, Lord Leighton - active in Italy, France, and England - reflect similar concerns. The paintings of Eugène Delacroix, by contrast, exhibit a freedom of brushwork and an innovative use of colour to convey emotion that would influence generations of artists, including Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne.