The Artist Birthday Series

Alexandre Cabanel

Alexandre Cabanel: painter

Alexandre Cabanel (28 September 1823 – 23 January 1889) was a French painter born in Montpellier, Hérault. He painted historical, classical and religious subjects in the academic style. He was also well known as a portrait painter. According to Diccionario Enciclopedico Salvat, Cabanel is the best representative of the L’art pompier and Napoleon III’s preferred painter.

self_portrait_alexandre_cabanel
Self portrait, 1852

Cabanel entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the age of seventeen, and studied with François-Édouard Picot. He exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1844, and won the Prix de Rome scholarship in 1845 at the age of 22. Cabanel was elected a member of the Institute in 1863. He was appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1864 and taught there until his death at the age of 65.

Self portrait, 1870
Self portrait, 1870

He was closely connected to the Paris Salon. He was regularly elected to the Salon jury and his pupils could be counted by the hundred at the Salons. His refusal, together with William-Adolphe Bouguereau, to allow the impressionist painter Édouard Manet and many other painters to exhibit their work in the Salon of 1863 led to the establishment of the Salon des Refusés by the French government. Cabanel won the Grande Médaille d’Honneur at the Salons of 1865, 1867, and 1878.

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