Charles Gleyre (full name Marc Gabriel Charles Gleyre) (Chevilly, Vaud canton, 2 May 1806 - 5 May 1874), was a Swiss artist. He took over the studio of Paul Delaroche in 1843 and taught a number of younger artists who became prominent, including Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Self portraitHis father and mother died when he was eight or nine years of age; and he was brought up by an uncle in Lyon, France, who sent him to the industrial school of that city.
Going to Paris in his late teens, he spent four years in intense artistic study. The following four years Gleyre spent in meditative inactivity in Italy, where he became acquainted with Horace Vernet and Louis Leopold Robert; and six years more were spent wandering in Greece, Egypt, Nubia and Syria. At Cairo he was attacked with ophthalmia, or inflammation of the eye, and in Lebanon he was struck down by fever. He returned to Lyons in shattered health.
On his recovery he proceeded to Paris, and, establishing a modest studio in the rue de Universite, began carefully to work out the ideas which had been slowly shaping themselves in his mind. Mention is made of two decorative panels Diana leaving the Bath, and a Young Nubian as almost the first fruits of his genius; but these did not attract public attention until much later, and the painting by which he practically opened his artistic career was the Apocalyptic Vision of St John, sent to the Salon of 1840.
This was followed in 1843 by Evening, which at the time received a medal of the second class, and afterwards became widely popular under the title Lost Illusions. It depicts a poet seated on the bank of a river, with his head drooping and a wearied posture, letting his lyre slip from a careless hand, and gazing sadly at a bright company of maidens whose song is slowly dying from his ear as their boat is borne slowly from his sight.
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 90.2 x 63.5 cm (35.5 x 25 in)