Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin

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Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin, Empress Marie Louise of France, c. 1812, oil on canvas. Versailles, France

Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin (March 25, 1783 – January 19, 1855), French painter, was born at Toulon, of poor parents.

As a young man, he learned his father's trade of locksmithing, whilst at the same time he followed the classes of the free school of art. Having sold some copies to a local amateur, Guérin started for Paris, where he came under the notice of Vincent, whose counsels were of material service.

In 1810 Guérin made his first appearance at the Salon with some portraits, which had a certain success. In 1812 he exhibited "Cain after the murder of Abel" (formerly in Luxembourg), and, on the return of the Bourbons, was much employed in works of restoration and decoration at Versailles.

His "Dead Christ" (Cathedral, Baltimore) obtained a medal in 1817, and this success was followed up by a long series of works, of which the following are the more noteworthy:

  • "Christ on the knees of the Virgin" (1819)
  • "Anchises and Venus" (1822) (formerly in Luxembourg)
  • "Ulysses and Minerva" (1824) (Musée de Rennes)
  • the "Holy Family" (1829) (Cathedral, Toulon)
  • "Saint Catherine" (1838)(St Roch)

In his treatment of subject, Guérin attempted to realize rococo graces of conception, the liveliness of which was lost in the strenuous effort to be correct. His chief successes were attained by portiaits, and those of Charles Nodier and the Abbé Lamennais became widely popular.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Guérin, Jean Baptiste Paulin". Encyclopædia Britannica 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.