Jean-Léon Gérôme Quotes Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Learn more about the skilled and passioniate artist, Jean-Léon Gérôme, is this list of quotes from his career as well as opinions on his legacy from other notable names.

Famous Quotes by Jean-Léon Gérôme

I hate imitators, people who put works together out of older works, these men are blind unless they are looking with someone else's eyes, and who produce only the mistakes of the master they draw from. These, one doesn't even want to talk about; one must simply call them 'Eunuchs'.

I begin to have enough of life. I’ve seen too much misery and misfortune in the lives of others. I still see it every day, and I’m getting eager to escape this theatre.

Letter to Albert Aublet, shortly before his death

My short stay in Constantinople had whetted my appetite and the Orient was my most frequent dream.

Of all the painters, all the sculptors who have come here and seen [Rome], not one has thought of depicting a Gladiator.

Photography is an art. It forces artists to discard their old routine and forget their old formulas. It has opened our eyes and forced us to see that which previously we have not seen; a great and inexpressible service for Art. It is thanks to photography that Truth has finally come out of her well. She will never go back.

Preface for Émile Bayard's Le Nu Esthétique, 1902

Photography, which has made striking progress in recent years, has forced artists to abandon old routines and forget old formulas. It has opened our eyes and forced us to look at what we had never seen before.

When you draw, form is the important thing. But in painting the first thing is to look for the general impression of color... Always paint a direct sketch from nature every day.

Quotes about Jean-Léon Gérôme by Art Historians and Fellow Artists

Let us mark with white this luck y year, for unto us a painter is born. He is called Gérôme. I tell you his name today, and tomorrow it will be celebrated.

Théophile Gautier

There are but few French artists of modern times whose works are more known, studied, and appreciated in America than are those of [Jean] Léon Gérôme.

Lucy H Hooper

Nothing can be more complete than the completeness with which the painter gratifies [the viewer's] curiosity. Everything is given – the physiognomies, the costumes, the actions, the furniture, the surroundings in such an exhaustive manner, that whatever the archeologists may say, by observing the details of the picture one is made to feel quite sufficiently 'seized and possessed' of all the information desired.

Edward Strahan

Gérôme's picture is one of those fine portraits of his own where he reveals individual traits through his intellectual understanding of racial characteristics... Never did Gérôme paint a finer bit of genre than this young giant.

Lorinda Munson Bryant, describing Bisharin Warrior, 1872

[Gérôme] reproduces not only the strange coloring, the magnificent sculptures in wood and marble, and the graceful groupings and postures, but also the profound religious sentiment which is ingrained in these simple Mussulmans, so faithful and unpretentious in their worship.

Fanny Field Hering, describing Priere dans la Mosquee

Assuredly they [the Arnauts] are there from love of ornamentation and to please us painters, for, studying this group of soldiers decked out in brilliant costumes, one is tempted to question their strategic utilit y as reg ards the security of the city. While awaiting a new conquest of Egypt by no matter whom, these decorative soldiers , these sentinels of comic opera, have no other orders than to stop photographers whom they would honour with their confidence.

Paul Lenoir, describing A Bashi-Bazouk Chieftan / An Albanian Smoking

In the early 1870s Gérôme was known for an astonishing range of visual exotica, all realized in precise, minute detail, achieved with thin layers of paint that revealed nary a brushstroke…His works were particularly sought after by wealthy Americans... Over the course of his career, Gérôme sold to American patrons 144 paintings, nearly a quarter of his production. Despite his prodigious output and enormous transatlantic success, most scholarly articles of recent decades cite Gérôme's work as a noxious blend of the trite, the exploitative and the stultifying academic. However, the latest scholarship is re-evaluating Gérôme and his importance in the nineteenth century. A 2010 essay by art historian Mary G. Morton... points out that, contrary to most twenty- and twenty-first century perspectives…Americans [in the 1800s] found Gérôme's paintings complex, edifying and completely modern.

Dana M Garvey

[Historians believed that] his chosen themes corrupted the loftier purposes of art, thus leading to commercialism…they also objected to his orientalism, which they disparaged for being untrue, a perversion or concoction of the true Orient... Now, with the exhibition at the Getty Museum [The Spectacular Art of Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904)], and a larger version of the show opening at the Musée d'Orsay in October 2010, Gérôme is finally receiving the attention he deserves. No longer will he be lost in time, although his paintings, the way he developed them, and his relationship with many of the major issues of artistic creativity in the nineteenth century and beyond will remain controversial.

Gabriel P Weisberg