Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (full name Pierre-Cecile Puvis de Chavannes) was born on 14 December 1824 in Lyons, France. He was the president and co-founder of the SocieteNationale des Beaux-Arts.
Biography and Career :
He intended to follow his father's example and become an engineer, but at the same time he took painting lessons from Henri Scheffer. He spent two years in Italy, studying the frescoes of the early Renaissance masters; this accounts for his subsequent predilection for monumental and decorative art.
On his return to Paris Puvis de Chavannes worked for some time in the studio of Thomas Couture, but the strongest influence at the beginning of his career came from Delacroix and especially Theodore Chasseriau. His first appearance at the Salon of 1850 passed unnot
iced and it was only from 1859, when his canvas Return from the Hunt was accepted there, that the artist began to exhibit his almost exclusively allegorical paintings annually. In 1890, Puvis de Chavannes became a founder member of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, where priority was given to exponents of the academic school.
In 1854, Puvis de Chavannes turned for the first time to decorative painting, producing canvases for the dining-room in his brother's house (The Four Seasons of the Year and The Return of the Prodigal Son).
The reputation of Puvis, however, rests largely on his mural decorations executed for numerous public buildings, including the Palais Longchamp in Marseilles (allegorical scenes on the themes of the town's past, 1868-69), and the Pantheon in Paris (The Childhood of Sainte Genevieve, 1876-77, and Sainte Genevieve Guarding the Sleeping Paris, 1897-98, from the Life of Sainte Genevieve, the Protectress of Paris series). He also decorated the Palais des Arts, Lyons (1883-84), the Sorbonne (1889-93), the Hotel de Ville, Paris (1889-93), the Musee Ceramique, Rouen (1890) and the Boston Public Library (1898).
Both his paintings and his mural decorations are executed in a rather abstract and poeticized style which makes use of flat, slightly modelled figures and which is characterized by smooth outlines and a pale, chalky range of colours. It was these distinctive features of Puvis de Chavannes's style that made him an idol of the Symbolist artists and writers of the late 1880s and 1890s.
Famous Works :
- Death and the Maiden
- The Dream
- The Poor Fisherman
- The Meditation
- Mary Magdalene at Saint Baume
- Saint Genoveva
- Young Girls at the Seaside
- Mad Woman at the Edge of the Sea
- Kneeling nude woman, viewed from back
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes Lists
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes Pictures