Gérard, François Pascal Simon, baron

BORN 4 May 1770, Roma, Lazio - DIED 11 Jan 1837, Paris
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Montparnasse Cimetière (division 01)

François Gérard was born in Rome and from 1786 he studied with Jacques Louis David is Paris and became his favourite student. To avoid military service David helped him to obtain a post of judge on the revolutional tribunal. But Gérard was so often ill that he wasn't able to participate actively in sentencing the enemies of the revolution to death.

By 1795 he was almost as famous as David as a portrait painter. After his Amor and Psyche was severily criticized he decided to concentrate on portraits and history scenes. He oftend painted famous people, like Joséphine de Beauharnais in 1802, before she was crowned empress.

In later years he fell out with David as well as Gros. The latter wasn't too happy when Gérard quickly turned to the Bourbons after their restauration and in 1817 Louis XVIII made him (and not Gros) Court Painter. In 1819 he was knighted by the king and he had a large studio with many assistents. The large portraits that he painted in those years are now regarded as superficial and glossy. Gérard died in Paris and was buried at the Montparnasse cemetery, Paris.

Related persons
• painted Beauharnais, Hortense de
• painted Beauharnais, Joséphine de
• was pupil to David, Jacques-Louis
• painted Denuelle, Eléonore
• quarreled with Gros, Antoine-Jean
• visited Helvétius, Anne-Catherine
• painted Marie Louise, Empress of France, Duchess of Parma
• painted Récamier, Juliette


The grave of François Gérard at Montparnasse Cimetière, Paris.
Picture by Androom (22 May 1999)


"Portrait de la reine Hortense".
(Rueil-Malmaison, musée national des châteaux de Bois Préau et de Malmaison )

"portrait of Jospehine de Beauharnais".
   (1801, St. Petersburg: Hermitage)

• Murray, Peter & Linda Murray, The Penguin Dictionary of Arts & Artists, Fourth Edition, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1981

Gérard, Rosemonde

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 3 Mar 2019