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Alexandre Cabanel

Born: Montpellier, 8 September 1823
Died: Paris, 23 January 1889
Nationality: French

with François-Edouard Picot at Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Paris); French Academy in Rome


1843 – first Paris Salon; runner up in Prix de Rome competition; travels to Rome

1850s –commission for decorative paintings for the Hôtel de Ville (city hall, destroyed 1871) and the Louvre

1855 – receives Légion d’honneur

1863 – exhibits Birth of Venus at Salon, it is purchased by Napoleon III; appointed professor at Ecole des Beaux-Arts; elected to the Institut de France

1865 – wins Grand Medal of Honor at Salon (also in 1867 and 1878)


 Jules Bastien-Lepage, Henri Gervex, and Lodewijk Royer


Rome (1840s)

Commissions from: 

Ludwig II (King of Bavaria); Napoleon III (Emperor of France)

Important Artworks: 

Nymph Abducted by a Faun, 1860 (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille)

The Death of Francesca de Rimini and Paolo Malatesta, 1870 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris). A Dante subject.



Although Cabanel is not a household name today, he was famous in his time:

"Next to Meissionier, it probable that the best known in the United States of the French artists of the day is Alexandre Cabanel.”

Lucy H. Hooper, “Contemporary French Artists. Meissonier and Cabanel,” The Art Journal, vol. 5 (1879): 286.