SIR EDWARD POYNTER: THE VICTORIAN NEO-CLASSICIST PAINTER

Reconstructing the events or situations set in ancient history and making the details of the paintings as archeologically accurate as possible, the English classicist painter, Sir Edward Poynter is remembered for his contribution to art history and his academic art.

Famous for his elaborate historical tableaux, Poynter was born on March 20, 1836, in Paris. He had attended several schools in England before turning towards training as an artist in 1852. In 1853 Poynter visited Rome, where he worked in the studio of Frederic, Lord Leighton and formed a close artistic relationship.

On returning to London, Poynter continued his studies and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1855. In 1856, he moved to Paris, spending three years in the studio of the Swiss painter Charles Gleyre, where his students included the cartoonist and writer George du Maurier and the American artist James MacNeill Whistler.

Prior to a career in more official roles, Poynter enjoyed success both as a painter and as a designer. From 1871 to 1875 he was the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at University College London and from 1875 to 1881 he took up the position of Principal of the National Art Training School. Poynter finally became Director of the National Gallery in May 1894, a position he held for ten years until the end of 1904.

Two years after his arrival at the National Gallery in 1896, Poynter was elected President of the Royal Academy and retained that post until 1918. He died in the following year, on 26 July 1919, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.


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