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Joseph Marie Vien

1716 Montpellier – 1809 Paris

Joseph Marie Vien, a history painter regarded as the pioneer of French neoclassicism, studied under Giral and Natoire and later went on to teach David. In 1750 the artist, who had been awarded the Prix de Rome in 1743, returned to Paris, where he developed a keen interest in antiquity and, encouraged by the Comte de Caylus, began experimenting with encaustic painting. He received a professorship at the Academy and in 1776 returned to Rome, where he spent the next ten years as director of the French Academy. In 1789 he was appointed director of the Paris Academy and made peintre du roi.