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Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (also known as Benjamin Constant), born Jean-Joseph Constant (10 June 1845 – 26 May 1902); French painter and etcher best known for his Oriental subjects and portraits.
Born in Paris. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse, where he was a pupil of Alexandre Cabanel. A journey to Morocco in 1872 strongly influenced his early artistic development and lead him to produce Romantic scenes under the spell of Orientalism. Among his noted works in this vein are Last Rebels, Justice in the Harem (both in the Luxembourg Gallery), Les Chérifas, and Moroccan Prisoners (Bordeaux). His large canvas, The Entrance of Mahomet II into Constantinople (Musée des Augustins Toulouse), received a medal in 1876.
After 1880, he changed his manner, devoting himself to mural decorations and portraits. Prominent examples include the great plafond in the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, entitled Paris Convening the World; his paintings in the New Sorbonne, representing Literature, The Sciences, and the Academy of Paris; and the plafond of the Opéra Comique theatre. He was distinguished as a portrait painter, especially in England, where he was a favorite of the aristocracy. His portrait Mons fils André (Luxembourg) was awarded a medal of honor at the Salon in 1896.
Benjamin-Constant also taught; among his pupils was the miniaturist Alice Beckington. He was a writer...
Indeed, after his orientalist period, the fame and prestige of this Toulouse-raised painter was much enhanced by his trips to the USA and England. In the US, his decorative talents and his portraits were very much sought after by the wealthy patrician families and industry barons. Such trips testify to his boldness, adventurousness and entrepreneurship. In England, his reputation was such that he was commissioned to paint the portrait of Queen Victoria, shortly before the Jubilee.