Friday, February 10, 2017

The Two Majesties (1883)

Jean-Léon Gérôme: The Two Majesties

A highly esteemed Salon painter and respected professor at the École des Beaux-Arts, Jean-Léon Gérôme embodied the artistic establishment of late-nineteenth-century Paris. Like Delacroix and Chassériau before him, Gérôme recorded the daily life and customs of the people and places he saw on his many travels to North Africa and the Near East with the zeal of an ethnographer. This painting is remarkable for its quiet solemnity. A huge, solitary lion, the king of the beasts, gazes across the seemingly endless terrain at the majestic setting sun, thus explaining the romantic title. The eerie grandeur is dramatized by the lion's profile, the single vertical element, against the horizontal planes of the desert. [Milwaukee Art Museum]

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