French symbolist painter
, born 6 April 1826 in Paris, died 18 April 1898. He became a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts
in 1892, where his students included Matisse
His most famous painting is Salome's Dance (The Apparition), in which the head of John the Baptist floats before Salome in a high-ceilinged hall, in a haze of small glittering points of colour. This is typical of the allegorical and romantic style that later led him to be regarded as one of the founders of Symbolism. He was in some ways a successor of Blake, and was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites across the Channel. Often he depicted femmes fatales from legend and female monsters.
J.K. Huysmans described his work thus in 1888: "Gustave Moreau is unique. He is a mystic, isolated in the heart of Paris in a cell where no noise of contemporary life enters the portals. Abandoned to ecstasy, he sees the enchanted visions and bleeding apotheoses of other ages. ... one feels, in front of these paintings, the same sensations as one feels reading a strange and captivating poem, like Baudelaire's Dream."
At this death he left a huge amount (thousands of paintings and drawings) to his museum in the Rue de La Rochefoucauld, which opened in 1903.