Hemicycle of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, 1814
Oil on canvas
Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris
In 1837 Delaroche was given an important commission. It was to decorate the apse of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts with a cycle of more than 70 of the most famous artists since Antiquity. This pantheon of art was known as the Hemicycle, and for decades it served artists from every country as a model of allegorical fresco painting. In the execution of Hemicycle of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts Delaroche went back to the antique technique of encaustic, and was the first artist to do so. This is a method in which hot melted wax is poured over the plaster, and it gives the painting a smooth quality that also repels damp. The German artist Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld used the same technique for the wall paintings in the Residenz in Munich which he executed for King Ludwig I.