Léon Comerre, 1850 – 1916, FRENCH
Oil on canvas
49 by 26.5cm., 19 by 10½in.
The Book of Judith is the Old Testament of the Bible. The story revolves around Judith, a daring and beautiful widow, who is upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign conquerors. She goes with her loyal maid to the camp of the enemy general, Holofernes, with whom she slowly ingratiates herself, promising him information on the Israelites. Gaining his trust, she is allowed access to his tent one night as he lies in a drunken stupor. She decapitates him, then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen. The Assyrians, having lost their leader, disperse, and Israel is saved. Though she is courted by many, Judith remains unmarried for the rest of her life. More on The Book of Judith
Léon François Comerre (10 October 1850 – 20 February 1916) was a French academic painter, famous for his portraits of beautiful women. Comerre was born in Trélon, in the Département du Nord, the son of a schoolteacher. He moved to Lille with his family in 1853. From an early age he showed an interest in art and became a student of Alphonse Colas at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lille, winning a gold medal in 1867. From 1868 a grant from the Département du Nord allowed him to continue his studies in Paris at the famous École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel. There he came under the influence of orientalism.
Comerre first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1871 and went on to win prizes in 1875 and 1881. In 1875 he won the Grand Prix de Rome. This led to a scholarship at the French Academy in Rome from January 1876 to December 1879. In 1885 he won a prize at the “Exposition Universelle” in Antwerp. He also won prestigious art prizes in the USA (1876) and Australia (1881 and 1897). He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903. More Léon Comerre
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