(b Paris, 16 Mar. 1771; d Meudon, nr. Paris, 25 June 1835). French painter. He trained with his parents, both of whom were miniaturists, and then with J.-L. David. Although he revered David and became one of his favourite pupils, Gros had a passionate nature and he was drawn more to the colour and vibrancy of Rubens and the great Venetian painters than to the Neoclassical severity of his master. From 1793 to 1800 he worked in Italy, where he met Napoleon and was commissioned to paint portraits documenting his campaigns. After his return to Paris he continued this vein in huge paintings such as the Battle of Eylau (1808, Louvre, Paris) that are among the most stirring images of the Napoleonic era. Compared with the contemporary war scenes of Goya, they are glamorous lies, but they are painted with such skill and panache that they cannot but be admired on their own terms.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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