Vieu, Joseph Marie
Vieu, Joseph Marie an eminent French painter, and the regenerator of art in France, was born at Montpellier, June 18, 1716. His enthusiasm for art led him to study, against the wishes of his parents, under several masters, among whom were Rivalz of Toulouse, and C. Natoire at Paris, where he went in 1740. In 1743 he gained the prize of the Royal Academy by his picture of the Plague of the Israelites in the Time of David. In 1744 he went to Rome, where he spent some years in studying the masters and designing from the antique, and painted numerous pictures, including many altar-pieces of great merit, such as the Slaughter of the Innocents, and two pictures now in the Louvre: a Sleeping Hermit, and St. Germain and St. Vincent Receiving the Croon of Glory from the Hands of an Angel. He returned to Paris in 1750, and was chosen a member of the Academy in 1754. While at Paris he painted numerous pictures, and labored with excellent success to restore in French art the study of the antique and of nature as represented in the Italian masters. He completed his picture of St. Denis Preaching to the Gauls in 1775, when he was decorated with the Order of St. Michael, and appointed director of the French Academy at Rome, where he resided until 1781, and was also elected a member of the Academy of St. Luke. After returning to Paris he was chosen one of the rectors and director of the Royal Academy, and in 1789 principals painter to the king. At the time of the Revolution, came a change in his relations to the government, but Napoleon made him a member of the Senate, a count of the empire, and a commander of the Legion of Honor. He died in Paris, March 27, 1809, and was buried in the Pantheon. Vieu's subjects are taken chiefly from the Scriptures, ancient and modern history, and Greek mythology. Among the most celebrated works of this artist the following deserve mention here: St. Jerome: the Embarkation of St. Martha: — Christ Breaking Bread: — the Resurrection of Lazarus. — The Virgin Attended by Angels: — and St. Gregory. See Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts, s.v.