GROS, gee), BARON, French historical painter: b. Paris, 16 March 1771; d. near Paris, 26 June 1835. At 14 he became a pupil of David, and in 1794 left Paris for Rome. His means. however, were not sufficient for the journey, and he had to depend on what he could earn as a portrait-painter in the vari ous towns he passed through. At Genoa, in 1796, he was drawn for the French army, and soon became a staff-officer. Josephine, after ward empress of France, saw and admired sev eral portraits by the young officer, and he was called upon to paint that of Bonaparte. The result was a picture rep resenting Napoleon leading his troops over the bridge of Arcola. In 1804 he pro duced his 'Peste de Jaffa,' considered by many to be his masterpiece. He painted the 'Bataille d'Aboukir' (1806) ; d'Eylau' (1808) ; 'La Prise de Madrid,' (Wagram,' and 'La Bataille des Pyramides' (1810). In 1816 he was made member of the Institute and profes sor in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and became officer of the Legion of Honor in 1828. In France his chief work is considered by some to be the cupola of Saint Genevieve at Paris, exhibiting the saint protecting the throne of France, represented by Clovis, Charlemagne, Saint Louis and Louis XVIII. This picture
covers an immense space, and is correct in design but defective in color and expression. The art'st received for it 100,000 francs and the title of baron. The rise of the romantic school bore away from him the tide of popularity, and his last work 'Hercule et Diomede,' was a failure. Adverse criticisms upon it brought on a fit of despondency and he drowned himself in the Seine. His art bridges the chasm be tween the classicism of David and the art of the Romantic school. He was the first to take up historical subjects in preference to classic subjects. His best works are in the Louvre and the Museum of Versailles. His 'Francis I and Charles V at St. Denis,' now in the Louvre, he considered his best work in color. A great number of his portraits in the Versailles gallery are characteristic and powerful; notable among them are those of Massina, Lasalle and Pournier-Sarlovese. Consult Chesneau. 'Les chefs d'Ecole' (Paris 1883) ; Delacroix in the Revue des Deux Mondes (1848) ; Delestre, 'Jean Gros' (Paris 1867) ; and other biogra phies by Tripier le Franc (1880), Dargenty (1887) and Lemonnier (1912),.