1. Life and work.
He spent most of his childhood in Rome. His talent as an artist revealed itself early and during this period he acquired a love of Italian painting and music, which he never lost. In 1782 his family returned to Paris, where, through the connections of his father?s employer Louis-Auguste le Tonnelier, Baron de Breteuil, Minister of the King?s Household, Gerard was admitted to the Pension du Roi, a small teaching establishment for young artists which had been founded by the Marquis de Marigny. After 18 months he entered the studio of the sculptor Augustin Pajou, where he remained for two years, before transferring to that of the painter Nicolas-Guy Brenet. He became a pupil of David in 1786 and quickly found special favour with his master.
In 1789 Gerard competed for the Prix de Rome and his entry, Joseph Revealing himself to his Brethren (Angers, Mus. B.-A.), was placed second; the winner was Girodet. He did not submit in 1790, being preoccupied with his father?s illness and death?after which he returned to Italy with his mother and two younger brothers. Back in Paris by mid-1791 he became David?s assistant in the painting of the Death of Le
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