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Gustave Moreau was a 19th-century French painter. Moreau was one of the most prominent artists in French Symbolism. As an artist, he deeply explored the representation of mythological and biblical figures. Most of his artwork is now at the Musee Gustave Moreau in Paris.
Gustave Moreau was born in April 1826, in Paris, France. The artist was born into a middle-class family, his mother was an accomplished musician, and his father was an architect for the city. His passion for art began at age 15, during a trip to Italy, and at age 18, he would enroll at the École des Beaux-Arts studying under Francois-Édouard Picot. He left the school in 1850 to study under Theodore Chasseriau, who was a massive influence on Moreau; two years later would participate at the Salon for the first time.
Moreau had a 25-year long and very personal relationship, and most probably a romantic one, with Adelaide-Alexandrine Dureux, who posed for him several times. Throughout his career, Moreau showed a keen interest in both mythological and religious themes. His first painting at the Salon was a Pietà, in 1852, and in the following year, Moreau exhibited The Death of Darius and A Scene from the Song of Songs. In the same year, he contributed with Moses Putting Off his Sandals within Sight of the Promised Land and Athenians with the Minotaur to the Great Exhibition.
Oedipus and the Sphinx is one of Moreau’s earliest Symbolist paintings; it was shown at the Salon of 1864. Said painting quickly rendered the artist both fame and a reputation for his eccentricity. The picture is now part of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection.
In 1875, Moreau was knighted as a Legion d’honneur Chevalier and became an Officer in 1883.
His wife, Alexandrine, died on March 28, 1890. Her passing took a significant toll on Moreau’s emotional state. Since then, his artwork would shift to a quite melancholic overtone.
In October 1891, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Paris appointed Moreau as a professor. Several of his many students became renowned artists, such as the fauvist painters Georges Rouault and Henri Matisse, as well as Jules Flandrin Leon Printemps, Theodor Pallady, and the Symbolist painter Pierre Marcel-Beronneau.
Gustave Moreau Died on April 18, 1898, of stomach cancer. He was buried in the Montmartre Cemetery, along with his wife.