Louis Léopold Robert is a Neuchâtel painter born May 13, 1794 in Les Éplatures ( La Chaux-de-Fonds , Switzerland ) and died March 20, 1835 in Venice .
Born into a modest family, 7 days after the fire which almost completely destroyed the village. He had a happy childhood with a father who was a watchmaker and box fitter.
After studying in Porrentruy ( Jura / Switzerland), he apprenticed in Yverdon-les-Bains ( Vaud ) but, in 1810, left for Paris where he trained as an engraver with the loclois Charles-Samuel Girardet. He was admitted in 1812 to the studio of Jacques-Louis David , where he began to paint and learned engraving there. In 1814 he won the second Grand Prix de Rome for intaglio engraving.
When the Empire fell , the Principality of Neuchâtel became Prussian again and Léopold Robert lost his French nationality. He was then put out of competition at the Grand Prix de Rome where he competed for the first prize. Back in La Chaux-de-Fonds he painted many portraits which contributed to his fame in the Neuchâtel bourgeoisie. Fate in the person of F. Roulet de Mézerac comes at the point to pull L. Robert out of boredom and gloom. His generous patron allowed him to continue his painting studies in Rome, where he remained for 13 years, until 1831 .
Luck smiled on him, the many families of bandits served him as models and his compositions of Italian scenes in costume attracted the admiration and the clientele of an elite. He can finally repay his debts and accepts countless orders.
In 1825 he attended the salon M me Recamier and trip to Naples and in different Italian regions. Attracted by monumental compositions, he worked on one of them, The Four Seasons , for the Paris Salon . The return of the pilgrimage of the Madonna of the Arc, the first composition, was a great success at the Paris Salon of 1827 . The painting is bought by King Louis-Philippe .
In 1829 he traveled to Italy , in the Pontine marshes in particular, and met Prince Napoleon and his wife Charlotte Bonaparte with whom he fell in love. In 1831 his triumph at the Paris Salon , with the Halte des moissonneurs in the Pontine marshes , earned him the cross of the Legion of Honor which the king himself gave him.
Following the troubles of 1832 in the Papal States , he left Rome . After a stop in Florence where his hopes for Charlotte Bonaparte were dashed , he settled in Venice . He undertakes his last monumental composition, that of the winter season, The Departure of Fishermen from the Adriatic . The work inspired Victor Hugo and Lamartine . 1
His painting barely completed, he sinks into a deep state of depression and puts an end to his life ( 1835 ).
If his works have gradually faded into oblivion, his hometown will baptize its main artery with his name.