Francois Bruneri (1849-1926)
Oil on Canvas
Size (inches): 19.5 (h) x 24 (w) inches
Size (cm): 49.5 (h) x 61 (w) cm
The artist known as François Brunery was christened Francesco Bruneri in the north Italian city of Turin at the heart of a region that is today part of both Italy and France. Although cultural and familial ties with France ran deep in the region, Turin was also the centre of the mid-nineteenth century movement towards Italian unification; and in fact served briefly as the capitol of the new Italian nation from 1861-65. Within this cultural context, it is not unusual to find families whose lineage contains both French and Italian branches and surnames that shift depending on the locale. François Brunery thus signs his paintings with both the French and the Italian versions of his last name. Brunery seems to have left Turin in the 1860s for Paris where he studied with two of the most prestigious academic painters of the day, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) and Léon Bonnat (1833-1922). The older of these two mentors, Gérôme, had established his reputation in the 1850s as a painter of classical themes, and then expanded his repertoire to include Orientalist themes. In addition his interest in anecdotal history painting, in which famous historical figures are shown going about ordinary everyday activities, would serve as an example to Brunery in later years.