The Age of Augustus, the Birth of Christ Jean-Leon Gerome Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Art is one of the most important elements of human life as it keeps memories to the present and the future generation. With art comes great makers of it and one of them is Jean–Leon.

So who really was he? Jean –Leon was one of the greatest painters and sculptors of all time. His style was mostly academism although controversial at times. Coming from a place where art was highly appreciated, France the French sculptor grew up interacting with art from all walks of life.

Most people would describe his works as controversial or maybe erotic. This is because most of his works fall on the nude genre. His works included Greek mythology, orientalism, portraits and so many forms. He went ahead to bring a total revolution in the academic art world of that time.

The painting Age of Augustus, the birth of Christ depicts the context of the time of the birth of Jesus. It shows Augustus Ceaser in front of the temple. He is putting his hands on a person who symbolize Rome. Around him are noblemen and scholars all of them from foreign tribes. The painting symbolizes the fight for world peace which coincidentally is shown during the birth of Christ.

In 1852, during the reign of Napoleon II, the painter received a commission to create something that he would like. While selecting the context of his painting it is dissipated that Jean-Leon was trying to make Napoleon II happy that is why he created this painting. He travelled around to find something that would entice the ruler. The painter decided to create a mural that would show and represent every walk of life. The painting was first shown in 1855 at the Universal Exposition.

The painting was created on canvas using oil paints. Some of the other works apart from Age of Augustus, The birth of Christ include;

  • The virgin, the infant Jesus
  • Greek interior
  • The death of Ceaser
  • The c*ock fight
  • Lion snapping at a Butterfly
  • The Duel After the Masquerade
  • The carpet merchant
  • Pygmalion and Galatea

Jean-Leon went ahead to become a mentor to many artists both of his time and of the 21st century. Some of his great students include; Odion Redon, Thomas Eakins. Alden Weir and many other artists. Jean-Leon brought to life the liveliness and the soul in paintings.