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Wappers, Egide Charles Gustave, Baron

WAPPERS, EGIDE CHARLES GUSTAVE, BARON (1803- 1874), Belgian painter, was born at Antwerp on the 23rd of August 1803. After studying at the Antwerp Academy he went to Paris in 1826. The Romantic movement was then astir in France, and in that vehement struggle towards a new ideal artists and political men were thrown together. Wappers was the first Belgian artist to take advantage of this state of affairs, and his first exhibited picture, " The Devotion of the Burgomaster of Leiden," appearing at the appropriate moment, had a marvellous success in the Brussels Salon of 1830. The picture, although political, was in fact a remarkable work, which revolutionized the taste of Flemish painters. Wappers was invited to the court of Brussels, and was favoured with commissions. In 1832 the city of Antwerp appointed him professor of painting, and his triumph was complete when he exhibited at the Antwerp Salon of 1834 his masterpiece, " An Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830" (Brussels Gallery). He was subsequently appointed painter to the king of the Belgians, and at the death of Matthieu van Bree he was made director of the Antwerp Academy. Of his very numerous works we may name " Christ Entombed," " Charles I. taking leave of his Children," " Charles IX.," " Camoens," " Peter the Great at Saardam," and " Boccaccio at the Court of Joanna of Naples." Louis Philippe gave him a commission to paint a large picture for the gallery at Versailles, " The Defence of Rhodes by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem," a work finished in 1844, when he received from the king of the Belgians the title of baron. After retiring from the post of director of the Antwerp Academy, he settled in 1853 in Paris, where he died on the 6th of December 1874.

See J. du Jardin, L' Art flamand; Camille Lemonnier, Histoire des beaux arts en Belgique; E. F6tis, " Notice sur Gustave Wappers," Annuaire de I'academie royale de Belgique (1884).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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