Léon Belly

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Pilgrims going to Mecca, painting from 1861. Now at the Musée d'Orsay.

Léon Auguste Adolphe Belly (1827–1877) was a French landscape painter


Belly was born at St. Omer, in 1827. He studied under Troyon, and in 1849 visited Barbizon where he came under the influence of Théodore Rousseau.[1]

In 1850–1 he travelled to Greece, Syria, and the Black Sea. In 1853 he made his debut at the Paris Salon, exhibiting four landscapes of Nablus and Beirut, and of the shores of the Dead Sea, which attracted critical acclaim. In 1855–6 he visited Egypt, travelling up the Nile in the company of another painter, Edouard Imer. A second trip to Egypt in 1856 was largely spent making studies for his painting Pilgrims going to Mecca, now in the Musée d'Orsay.[1]

As well as his paintings of Middle Eastern subjects he painted portraits and landscapes of Normandy and the Sologne throughout his career, and in 1867 bought land at Montauban. He died in Paris in 1877.[1]


His paintings include:

  • Twilight in November.
  • Fishers at Equilles.
  • The Desert of Nassoub. 1857.
  • The Plain of Djyseh.
  • Pilgrims going to Mecca, ("Pellerins allant a la Mecque") 1861. Paris, Musée d'Orsay.[2]
  • The Banks of the Nile ("Bords du Nil (Vieux Caire), Barques"}. Saint-Omer, Musée de l'hôtel Sandelin.[2]
  • Approach to an Egyptian Village.
  • The Dead Sea ("La Mer morte") 1866. Paris,Musée du quai Branly. [3]
  • The Nile — near Rosetta.
  • Montauban in Sologne ("le gué de Montboulan, en Sologne"), 1877. Paris, musée d'Orsay. [4]



  1. ^ a b c Stevens,Mary Anne, ed. (1984). The Orientalists, Delacroix to Matisse: European Painters in North Africa and the Near East (exhibition catalogue). London: Royal Academy of Arts. p. 113. ISBN 9780297784173. 
  2. ^ a b "Léon Belly". Joconde database. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "=La Mer morte". RMN. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "le gué de Montboulan, en Sologne". RMN. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 


This article incorporates text from the article "BELLY, Léon Auguste Adolphe" in Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers by Michael Bryan, edited by Robert Edmund Graves and Sir Walter Armstrong, an 1886–1889 publication now in the public domain.