Symbolist Painter – Gustave Moreau

Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau was an important figure in the Symbolist movement. Jean Cassou called him a “Symbolist painter par excellence”.

Gustave Moreau

Early life

During Gustave Moreau’s early life, he developed a strong interest in the art of ancient Greece and Italy. His parents, Louis Jean-Marie Moreau and Adele Pauline Desmoutier, encouraged him to pursue a career as an artist. They also suggested that he travel to Italy. Upon returning to Paris, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Moreau studied with Francois-Edouard Picot and learned the art of painting large canvases. He also learned the technique of copying Old Masters at the Louvre. He was introduced to the works of Rembrandt van Rijn and other artists from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He became friends with Edgar Degas and Elie Delaunay.

Moreau’s father, Louis Jean-Marie Moreau, was an architect for the City of Paris. He worked in a number of different positions during a turbulent period in French history. The Moreau family lived at 14 Rue de La Rochefoucauld. His mother, Adelaide-Alexandrine Dureux, was a talented musician.

Moreau traveled to Italy in 1857-59. He and his family returned to Paris in 1863. He began to develop an interest in the art of antiquity, especially Italian Renaissance paintings. His paintings are characterized by a variety of ornamentation, symbolism, and excess. His mature works reflect proto-Surrealist energy.

Moreau’s paintings are richly crowded with dramatic lighting. His work includes a wide range of subject matter, from Byzantine mosaic art to Greek mythology. His paintings include such iconic masterpieces as Oedipus and the Sphinx and Jason and Medea. He also painted the Athenians Being Delivered to the Minotaur in the Cretan Labyrinth, which was commissioned for the museum of Bourg-en-Bresse.

Moreau’s style was greatly influenced by the Romantic painter Theodore Chasseriau. Chasseriau was also a friend of Claude Monet. Both of them were close to the French Symbolist movement.

Oedipus and the Sphinx

During the mid-nineteenth century, French artist Gustave Moreau rejected the idealism of realism and opted for a more archaic style. He became a symbolist painter, representing mythological stories. His paintings, such as Oedipus and the Sphinx, sought to dramatize the conflict between Spirit and Matter.

The painting is an oil on canvas. It was shown at the Salon of 1864, and was later purchased by Prince Napoleon-Jerome.

Its subject is the story of Oedipus, who was born to the royal family, but abandoned as a baby and raised by a shepherd. He later married Jocasta, a widow of King Laius, and was made king of Thebes. He died later. His son Oedipus returned to Thebes and defeated the Sphinx, who had plagued the city. He was also able to fulfill an oracle’s prophecy that he would be king.

Moreau painted a number of preparatory drawings. His style gradually progressed from simple scenes to increasing detail. He reworked his canvases often, and he had more unfinished works than finished ones.

The sphinx is a symbol of ideals to which the artist rivets his gaze. It is a mythical creature, and it is said to be the mother of all symbols. Moreau’s version of Oedipus and the Sphinx was inspired by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 1808 version of the same subject.

Moreau’s sphinx is a powerful character, and it can be seen as a femme fatale. It appears as a hypnotize, and it is surrounded by a fantastic landscape. It has a lion body and wings of a bird. The sphinx also has hind legs that press against the genital area of Oedipus.

Oedipus and the Sphinx stands as a ferocious statement of Moreau’s ideals. It represents the beginning of his mature career during the 1860s.


Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau is among the earliest of his kind. His paintings are a mix of classical and classical-influenced art and are often done in a small format of devotional painting.

His works primarily revolve around classical figures. His work is also influenced by the Italian Renaissance. He studied Greek, Latin, and classical drawing. He began to draw at age eight.

His father encouraged his son’s artistic tendencies. He took him to the Louvre to see old masters. The young artist also learned how to read and write. In the 1850s, he started holding regular exhibitions. His work at the Salon received a lot of attention.

His painting The Suitors (1852-1896) was an ambitious canvas based on an episode in the Odyssey. He also painted landscapes in watercolors en plein air. He was particularly interested in the compositional color schemes and complex groupings of multiple figures.

He became a close friend of Theodore Chasseriau. In 1852, he participated in the first Paris Salon. He also secured commissions from the city. He did not attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Although his art was impressive, he was not very well-known. In the early 20th century, his art slipped out of favor. His work is today exhibited at the Musee Gustave Moreau in Paris.

Although he was a prominent figure in the Symbolist movement, his reputation was more based on his status as a teacher of Georges Rouault than his work. He did not have a large number of original works. His art was often copied from other artists.

In the 1890s, Moreau moved to Alexandrine Dureux. He stayed there for the rest of his life. He lived a relatively modest lifestyle.

The Apparition

Symbolism is a stylistic period in art. It combines numerous imaginative flows into one. The Apparition is a key work in this period. In fact, it is a very important painting by the early twentieth century French painter Gustave Moreau.

The Apparition is an elaborate painting that Moreau did between 1874 and 1876. It is an example of his style known as Gentileschi. The subject matter is related to the Bible, in particular Matthew 14:6-11 and Mark 6:21-29. The image is rendered in a way that is very similar to that of Caravaggio, but with a grotesque twist.

Moreau’s The Apparition is a good example of the Symbolist movement. It has become an icon of the time. The depiction of Salome dancing before Herod Antipas is an impressive piece of nineteenth century art. It was exhibited alongside other works by Moreau at the Salon.

Moreau had a long standing interest in the Salome story. He studied the work of Dutch master Remdrandt in the ’70s. He wrote about the sacredness of the scene. Moreau’s artistic agenda was inextricably linked to the symbolic content. The result was a series of highly elaborate paintings and sketches that spanned the spectrum from sketchily rendered to the more elaborate.

It is also the painting which demonstrates Moreau’s proficiency with color. The Apparition is currently displayed at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The surreal setting of the scene is augmented by the use of textile opulence.

The most important thing about the painting is that it illustrates the symbolic significance of a woman in an erotic setting. This is not to say that the figure is a sexy sexpot, but rather that it is the embodiment of an erotic state of mind.

Government commissions

During his lifetime, the French artist Gustave Moreau was one of the most important and prominent symbolist painters of the 1960s. He was born in Paris in 1826. His parents were a wealthy bourgeois couple. They were able to encourage their son to study art. He began drawing at the age of eight. He was encouraged to study classical drawing by his father. He studied under the neoclassical painter Francois-Edouard Picot. He also studied under the impressionist painter Edgar Degas.

Moreau was a member of the Fauvist movement. His style was influenced by the work of Theodore Chasseriau and Eugene Delacroix. He was also influenced by the works of Frederick Hottenroth. He used dramatic lighting and bright colors to create his paintings. He reinterpreted myths, especially those that had been retold over and over. He was particularly interested in the complex grouping of multiple figures.

His father, Louis Jean Marie Moreau, was an architect who worked for the city of Paris. He also served as highway commissioner for the city. He was reinstated in various positions when the power of the government shifted. He also helped to build the Place de la Concorde. His daughter Camille died at age 14. The family lived in Vesoul, France, from 1827 to 1830.

Moreau’s father encouraged him to become an artist, and when Moreau was eight, he began drawing incessantly. He exhibited his first painting in the Salon of 1852. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he became a professor. He had a strong interest in the literature and artistic salons of Paris.

Moreau grew increasingly solitary in later years. He was concerned about the fate of his paintings after he was dead. He often wrote notes on his paintings. These notes gave insight into his art ideas. He kept his notes in a safe place.