Paul Baudry (born November 7, 1828 – died January 17, 1886) is a famous French artist, a prominent representative of European academic painting of the 19th century, a master of the religious and portrait genres. Paul Baudry painted many nude paintings and was a member of the French Academy of Arts for a long time. His work is rightfully recognized by art critics as the standard of academicism, and his biography is an example of a successful career as a painter.
Paul Baudry also earned a resounding fame as an outstanding frescoist. His murals still adorn the Paris Opera, the building of the Court of Cassation and the old Chantilly palace near the French capital.
Baudry was born on November 7, 1828 in the city of La Roche-sur-Yon in the far west of France in the family of a simple shoemaker. From a young age, the boy showed a talent for drawing, which was strongly encouraged not only by his parents, but also by their friends. Moreover, the municipality of his hometown allocated a small scholarship to the young talent so that he could continue his studies in painting in Paris.
Biography of Paul Baudry Paul
At the age of 16, Paul Baudry went to the French capital, where he was admitted to the National School of Arts as a student. The mentor of the young artist was the outstanding teacher Michel Martin Drolling, who educated many famous French painters of the second half of the 19th century.
Learning was easy for Paul, for five years he was one of the best students in the school, and a worthy reward for excellent studies for the young artist was the award of the Rome Prize in 1850 for the painting “Zenobia, found by shepherds on the banks of the Araks.” Receiving the prestigious award allowed Baudry to go on a creative trip to Rome for several years to study the works of the best masters of the Renaissance and Antiquity at the expense of funds allocated by the Academy.
The young painter was most impressed by the graceful and playful erotic works of Correggio, later this influence was clearly reflected in the work of the French master. Upon his return from Italy, Paul Baudry actively began writing paintings and already in 1857 he took part in the Paris Salon – the largest annual exhibition of the Academy of Arts.
Baudry’s work was well received by the French public and critics, and three were awarded the first prize in the exhibition. From that moment on, the artist became widely known and earned the fame of a fashionable painter.
Paul Baudry’s creative career was successful in the future.
Over the years, he received generous commissions to paint portraits and paintings on mythological themes, thanks to which he led a very wealthy life. But the greatest fame for the master was brought by the activity of painting the interiors of luxurious buildings – palaces, private estates and public buildings.
Over the course of 10 years, Baudry created more than 30 monumental artistic compositions that still adorn the walls and vaults of the Paris Opera, the Chantilly Palace, as well as several Parisian hotels and country residences of French tycoons. The pinnacle of the painter’s work was supposed to be the artistic decoration of the interior decoration of the Pantheon, but this grandiose project remained unrealized.
Upon returning from a short trip to the Middle East, Paul Bordi died suddenly on January 17, 1886 at the age of 57. The great master of French painting rests in peace in the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery, and his burial place is decorated with a majestic monument made by Paul Dubois and Antonin Mercié.
The most famous works of Paul Baudry
The outstanding artist left to posterity many wonderful works of art, written in different genres. And yet, the most famous works of Paul Baudry are:
- “Zenobia, found by shepherds on the banks of the Araks” (1850) is a painting-laureate of the Roman Prize, which brought the artist his first fame. The jury of the Academy of Arts unanimously recognized this work as the winner, and the work of the same name by William Bouguereau took only second place in the competition.
- “The Pearl and the Wave” (1862) is the most famous painting by the master depicting a nude female nature and one of the best, created by masters of painting in France during the Second Empire.
- “Charlotte Corday after the assassination of Marat” (1861) is the only work of the historical genre, written by Baudry. In contrast to the similar painting by Jacques-Louis David (Jacques-Louis David)
- “Death of Marat” (1793) here the main character is not a victim, but a murderer. The frescoes of the large foyer of the opera Garnier (1860) are a series of colorful paintings on mythological themes that adorn the walls and ceiling of a huge room. Baudry succeeded in the shortest possible time to fulfill the complex and enormous order of the emperor.
Paul Baudry will forever remain in the memory of descendants as the great master of painting of the 19th century, and his works – fine examples of European academic art