Known almost exclusively as a painter, Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889) was one of the most admired artists of the academic movement in the Second Empire, and a favorite of Napoléon III. Born to a humble woodworked, he made his way through artistic training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, before winning the Prix de Rome in 1843 and 1845, a rare double. He remains a resident of the Villa Médicis until 1850.
Cabanel made a living mostly through portraitures, he also taught a great many aspiring talents. While portraits represent the lion share of his oeuvre, today he is mostly known for his romantic subject matters. Having started by painting religious and historic scenes in earlier years, these compositions evolved to become increasingly sensual and emotional.
Like all classically trained artists of the 19th century, Cabanel was an accomplished draftsman. Most of the drawings found today are quick sketches, preliminary studies for parts of larger painted compositions. We were fortunate enough to find something a little bit different.