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Jean-Baptiste Regnault

1754–1829, Paris

Before embarking on his career as a painter Jean-Baptiste Regnault travelled as a young man with his father to America and Africa and served for several years in the navy as a ship’s boy. After returning home he turned his attention to painting, for which he soon demonstrated a considerable talent. In 1768 he joined his teacher Jean Bardin on a journey to Rome, where he spent several years studying the newly emergent classicist trend. In 1776, when he was just 22 years of age, Regnault was awarded the coveted Prix de Rome for his painting Alexander and Diogenes. Back in Paris he studied under Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié and Joseph-Marie Vien and was appointed a member of the Academy in 1783. Regnault regularly exhibited at the Paris Salon. His often highly commended works are mostly devoted to mythological and historical topics and on rare occasions deal with religious themes.