Jean-Baptiste Discart 

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Biography of Jean-Baptiste Discart  ( 1856-1944 )

Remarkably little is known about the career of the extremely gifted French painter, Jean Discart. He was born in the Italian city of Modena in 1856 and enrolled in a history of painting course at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts at the age of seventeen. The course was taught by the famous German classical painter, Anselm Feuerbach (1829-1880), and among Discart's fellow students were Ludwig Deutsch (1855-1935) and Karl Merode (1853-1909).

After Feuerbach retired from the academy, Discart, Deutsch and Merode applied to study under Leopold Carl Müller, who refused them admittance. This prompted Discart and Deutsch to travel to Paris where they were no doubt immersed in the cosmopolitan art world, surrounded by their contemporaries. Perhaps it was the combined influences of his classical training in Vienna with his Parisian exposure that led to an interesting career for Discart who focused on Orientalist works.

Discart first exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1884 and painted Orientalist subjects through to the 1920s, rendering work exquisite in their detail, richness and understanding of light and texture. Much like his contemporary, Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932), Discart's compositions incorporated the heavy use of artifacts such as metal ware, pottery, textiles and instruments, set against elaborate backdrops of sculpted stone, painted tiles or carved woodwork. The temptation to bring back found treasures from their travels was deeply felt by the Orientalists, who desired to fill their studios and homes with artifacts illustrating the craftsmanship of the East as a source of inspiration for paintings executed off-site.

Discart's skill in capturing detail is remarkable; he effectively manipulates the paint and brushstrokes to render various textures, much like his contemporary Deutsch.

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