Leon Benouville

Francis Leon Benouville was born in Paris in 1821. He was a great French architect and designer, but he specialized in landscapes. He was born into a art-loving family, and his Father was the painter Achille Benouville. He studied with his elder brother in the studio of Ecole des Eduoard Picot before he transferred to the Ecole des beaux-Arts (the French National Arts and Architecture Academy) in 1837. he traveled to Rome with his brother and remained there for a year while his brother lived there for two years. He completed his studies at the Ecole Centrale des Arts et manufactures in Paris, and he later worked as an Architectural associate. Leon later went to work with his brother as an architect. And during the mid-century period, there were a whole lot of painters in Paris and he wasn’t special in any way. He faced severe competition from his contemporaries and this made him to focus on just painting Italian landscapes. Due to some reasons best known to the artists of that time, painting of Italian landscapes was considered superior to those of French landscapes.
In 1843, Leon won a second place medal in the annual Prix de Rome (price of Rome) for his painting (the mockery of Christ), and this was a remarkable achievement in his time. He studied the monuments of the middle ages and was also influenced by his own thoughts and study of arts. His preparatory drawings were a significant evidence of his great attention to detail, and this was the hallmark of his works. He was a dedicated painter that strived for perfection through his ideas and painting. He created countless preparatory studies of fragments and this include the details of all his compositions. Leon grew interest in Early Christian arts and his paintings were more of a religious and historical theme. In his time, historical painting were used to bring life events from the past and the present to compliment the many dramatic scenes, they were also used in decorating churches and portrayed during public holidays. Leon was considered to be one of the most innovative, creative and promising historical painters of his time. His major materials were oil, ink and chalk but the aftermath of his work was a beauty to behold. His work produced in Rome was greatly influenced by Early Christianity and often portrayed depictions of Roman antiquity. He was responsible for the monumental painting of “christian martyrs”, one of his work that still shield great influence in the art of painting till date.
Leon won the the gold and silver medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. His designs and participation ranged from ancient Paris to fittings of stained glass windows, hides and leather. But he later focused on designing furniture for working class residents.
Today, many of his paintings are in storage, awaiting space and the revived interest of the public because they are worthy of recognition. However, his paintings were fewer than that of his brother Jean because he died in 1859 from a terrible illness.
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