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Gérôme: Celebrated, Vilified, Reconsidered

Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Revisiting the theme of the exhibition The Spectacular Art of Jean-Léon Gérôme, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from June 15 through September 12, 2010, curator Mary Morton shares revelations from the exhibition and since its closing two years ago. In this lecture recorded on September 16, 2012, at the National Gallery of Art, Morton explains the complexity of Jean-Léon Gérôme's work, career, and reception. During his life Gérôme (1824-1904) attained a high degree of professional and financial success, but his artistic reputation suffered due to alleged commercialism and his resistance to the avant-garde impressionist and post-impressionist movements. Morton reviews works from Gérôme's entire career- the early "Néo-Grec" paintings with references to classical antiquity, historical scenes, Orientalist genre paintings, and his late focus on sculpture- to make the case for his spectacular art.