Fernand Khnopff was born to a wealthy family that was part of the high bourgeoisie for generations. To please his parents, he went to law school at the Free University of Brussels but left soon after, due to a lack of interest in his law studies and began to frequent the studio of Xavier Mellery, who made him familiar with the art of painting.
On 25 October 1876, he enrolled for the Cours De Dessin Après Nature (“course of drawing after nature”) at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. At the Académie, his most famous fellow student was James Ensor, whom he disliked from the start. Between 1877 and 1880, Khnopff made several trips to Paris where he discovered the work of Delacroix, Ingres, Moreau and Stevens. At the Paris World Fair of 1878 he became acquainted with the oeuvre of Millais and Burne-Jones.% | % | % | %