Life and work
Chassériau was born in El Limón, Samaná, in Saint Domingue (now the Dominican Republic). Her mother, Maria Magdalena Couret de la Blagniére, was born in Haiti but she moved with her parents to Santo Domingo when the Haitian revolution. At that time, the eastern part of Hispaniola was a French colony. There she met Bénoit Chassériau and soon they got married and moved to Samaná.
When the eastern part of the Hispaniola became again a colony of Spain, the family moved to Venezuela and Jamaica. Then, in 1821, the family went to live in Paris, France. Théodore was three years old at that time.
In 1830, at the age of eleven, he started to study with
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and soon he became the favorite pupil of the great classicist.
After Ingres left Paris in 1834 to become director of the French Academy in Rome, Chassériau fell under the influence of Eugène Delacroix, a well-known romantic painter. From that moment on, Chassériau tried to combine the two styles.
His works could be grouped in two periods:
- The classical period, with works like
- Portrait of Adéle Chassériau (1836)
- Christ on the Mount of Olives (1839)
- The Two Sisters (1843)
- The romantic period, with works like
- Arab Chiefs Visiting Their Vassals (1849)
- Jewish Women on a Balcony (1849)
- The Tepidarium (1853)
Chassériau died when he was 37 years old in Paris, on October 8, 1856.