The grand monuments of Italy influenced French painter Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, and he became a leading muralist of his day, painting vast compositions in the churches of Paris. An excellent portraitist, Flandrin s collection of paintings also includes numerous historical and mythological works.
Because of his lack of training, originally Flandrin painted miniatures, but a strong admiration for art propelled the young painter to pursue an artistic career. At first, his lack of training and money was considered a hindrance, but after winning the Prix de Rome in 1832 for his painting The Recognition of Theseus by his Father, Flandrin was considered equal with his contemporaries.
Flandrin soon after was commissioned to paint the chapel in the St. Sverin church in Paris, which furthered his reputation and guaranteed future commissions for the remainder of his life.
Flandrin s paintings are noted for his devotion to both the spiritual allegory as well as technical quality. Paintings such as Young Man Beside the Sea use form and color to express Flandrin s austerity and coldness that perhaps was rooted in his beliefs that his faith was in opposition to the surrounding world.