Xavier Sigalon

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Xavier Sigalon (1787 - August 9, 1837), French painter, born at Uzès (Gard) towards the close of 1787, was one of the few leaders of the romantic movement who cared for treatment of form rather than of colour.


The son of a poor rural schoolmaster, he had a terrible struggle before he was able even to reach Paris and obtain admission to Guérin's studio. But the learning offered there did not respond to his special needs, and he tried to train himself by solitary study of the Italian masters in the gallery of the Louvre. "The Young Courtesan" (Louvre), which he exhibited in 1822 , at once attracted attention and was bought for the Luxembourg.

The painter, however, regarded it as but an essay in practice and sought to measure himself with a mightier motive; this he did in his "Locusta" (Nîmes), 1824, and again in "Athaliahs Massacre" (Nantes), 1827. Both these works showed incontestable power; but the "Vision of St Jerôme" (Louvre), which appeared at the salon of 1831, together with the "Crucifixion" (Issengeaux), was by far the most individual of all his achievements, and that year he received the cross of the Legion of Honour.

The terrors and force of his pencil were not, however, rendered attractive by any charm of colour; his paintings remained unpurchased, and Sigalon found himself forced to get a humble living at times by painting portraits, when Thiers, then minister of the interior, recalled him to Paris...
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