Cabanel, Alexandre (1823-1889) by Scholes, Robert

Alexandre Cabanel (1823 – 1889) He was born in Montpellier, and, at the age of eleven, he was awarded a grant to train in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under François-Edouard Picot. He entered his first Salon show at the age of twenty. Two years later he won second place in the Prix de Rome, enabling him to attend lessons in Rome studying the classical academic themes. By the time Cabanel exhibited his most famous work, , in 1862, he had achieved widespread fame, including many awards, and important commissions including works for Napoleon and Ludwig II, the King of Bavaria. He was a bitter opponent of the Impressionists and represented exactly the kind of academic art that they despised. George Moore has a telling anecdote about this: “Somebody was saying he did not like Daumier, and Degas preserved silence for a long while. ‘‘ If you were to show Raphael” he said at last “ a Daumier, he would admire it, he would take off his hat, but if you were to show him a Cabanel he would say with a sigh, ‘ That is my fault! ‘ ” (Dana1.4:110). The Birth of Venus

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