COLIN, Alexandre-Marie
(b. 1798, Paris, d. 1873, Paris)

Biography

French painter. A student of Girodet and a great friend of Delacroix and Bonington, Alexandre-Marie Colin participated in the Paris Salon starting in 1819 until the end of his life, obtaining a second-class medal in 1824 and 1831, and a first-class medal in 1840.

Colin entered the École des Beaux Arts in 1814, first as a pupil of Girodet, but then joining Guérin's studio in 1816, in which the young Delacroix had also enrolled. He and Delacroix both attracted the attention of their teachers, winning drawing and composition prizes and were in the vanguard of the new wave of artists who decisively rejected the rigid conventions established by David. Throughout the 1820s they remained close friends, sharing a studio and even lithographing each other's works.

In 1825 Colin and Bonington went on an extended trip together, Bonington taking up Colin's love of modern historical and literary subjects while Colin embraced Bonnington's fluid landscape technique. Although he had several early successes and his Massacre at Chios, exhibited at the same time as Delacroix's larger work, was a considerable achievement, and in the 1830s, perhaps influenced by Delacroix he painted some Orientalist subjects, including a Bedouin, shown at the Salon of 1835 and the Guards of the Imam of Musqat, exhibited in 1841.

Known as a great portraitist, he portrayed well-known figures (actors wearing the costumes of their roles) and also depicted romantic subjects, views of Italy, and scenes illustrating the struggle for independence in Greece. His religious and historical paintings are characterised by a style based on a careful study of the old masters, while his genre pieces are vigorous and lifelike.