neo grec

La danza. Gioacchino Pagliei (Italian, 1852-1896). Oil on canvas.

In his easel works, Pagliei was Neo-Pompeian, one of a number of 19th century Romantic painters painting genre scenes of daily life in Ancient Rome. It overlaps with the Neo-Grec movement of classicism. The subject matter focused often on the sensuality and excesses of the culture. Some of them were influenced by new discoveries including frescoes from Pompeii.


Gérôme Executing The Gladiators, Monument to Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1878
Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay)

The taste for reality and historical truth taken to the extreme is manifest in the astonishing sculptural group, The Gladiators. Installed in the gardens of the Louvre as a memorial in 1909.

The portrait of Gérôme gives us a realistic picture of his working conditions: the smock, the tools he is holding, and his surprised glance at the spectator all suggest that he was interrupted in his work and caught in action as if by a snapshot. The gladiators themselves, a helmeted myrmillo and a retiary with his net, sculpted by Gérôme in 1878, are life-sized versions of the two gladiators he had painted six years before. Gérôme was famous for his Neo-Grec tastes and his Orientalism. A stickler for archaeological precision, he arranged for casts of antique gladiators’ equipment to be sent from Naples and invested large sums in properties for his Parisian model.