Muraton, Alphonse (1824-1911)

Muraton, Alphonse (1824-1911)

Alphonse Muraton was a distinguished French painter of religious scenes, portraits and genre. 

Muraton’s fine painting style represents a period in French art, which is a direct legacy of the esteemed neoclassical painter, Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825). David was arguably the greatest French painter of his generation and contributed towards a shift in thinking towards reason and classical refinement. Working during a period of severe unrest, he witnessed the first of three revolutions first-hand and the fall of the French establishment. Prior to David’s influence, the arts in France were shackled to the frivolities of the Rococo period, abundant with decadent ladies and opulent extravagances. But following the beheading of both Louis XVI and the fashion-obsessed Marie Antoinette, sobriety quickly replaced debauchery.

Influenced by the mathematical precision of the classical world, French painters often sought inspiration in Italy for its grand architecture, sculpture and Renaissance masterpieces. Poussin, Caravaggio, and Raphael were highly lauded and became the source of innumerable studies. As such, back in France, the teaching methods were adapted with a clear emphasis on examining the models of antiquity. Students were urged to hone their techniques with the ambition to produce a superior generation. David became a teacher of distinction with many of his pupils becoming masters of note. These include Michel Martin Drolling (1786-1851), a painter of history and portraits who, in turn, trained a young and impressionable Alphonse Muraton.

Here, in this portrait from 1850, the precise brushwork, gentle chiaroscuro, and glowing skin tones are directly related to the Italian masters. At just 26, Muraton had developed an advanced understanding of light effects and the nuances of the human form. Note the cheeks with their subtle variations.

Alphonse Muraton

Portraits were his raison d’etre but he also produced religious works, often on a grand scale, such as his exquisite ‘The Angel of the Olive Trees’, which is currently at the Saint-Brieuc Museum of Art and History.

Alphonse Muraton

With such a cultured approach, Muraton was celebrated by the selection committee of the Paris Salon, where he exhibited extensively. He won a medal in 1868, for his ‘The Two Hermits’, which was purchased by Napoleon III and sent to the Louvre before being returned to Empress Eugenie.

Across the span of his career, Muraton continued to produce works of the highest order and can be considered an important contributor to the French academic tradition. He’s represented in numerous public collections including museums at Alencon, Amboise, Angers, Aranjuex (Palais Royal), Avignon, Baltimore, Moulins, Rheims, Seville, St-Brieuc, Tours, and Versailles.


Cincinnati Industrial Exposition (1875), Paris Salon.

Public Collections

Museums in Alencon, Amboise, Angers, Aranjuex (Palais Royal), Avignon, Baltimore, Moulins, Rheims, Seville, St-Brieuc, Tours, Versailles.



Born in Tours, France.

Studied at the École de Dessin in Tours.

Studied under the portraitist Michel Martin Drolling (1786-1851) and Jacques Victor Jacquinet.


Enrolled at the Ecole Royale des Beaux-Arts.

Worked for the Spanish Royal Family.


Debuted at the Paris Salon where he exhibited until 1910.


Shown at the Exhibition of Fine Art, Madrid.


Awarded a medal at the Paris Salon.


Shown at the International Exhibition in Munich.


Shown in Philadelphia.


Died in La Source de Macé in Saint-Denis-sur-Loire, France.

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