French painter and illustrator. He was the son of the painter and art critic charles-olivier merson (1822–1902) and trained initially at the ecole de dessin in paris under gustave adolphe chassevent (1818–1901) and then at the ecole des beaux-arts under isidore-alexandre-augustin pils. He made his début at the salon in 1867 and won the grand prix, de rome in 1869 with the melodramatic work the soldier of marathon as a prize winner, he then spent five years in italy, where he was impressed and influenced by the works of the italian primitives, as is apparent in such works as st edmund, king and martyr, with its muted colours and rigid composition. In the salon of 1875 he exhibited sacrifice for the country, st michael , which had been commissioned as a design for a gobelins tapestry for the salle des evêques in the panthéon, paris. Soon afterwards he was chosen to decorate the galerie de st louis in the palais de justice, paris, with scenes from the life of louis ix. This resulted in two large works, louis opening the doors of the gaols on his accession and louis condemning sire enguerrand de coucy. He also used historical, often religious, subjects for his smaller-scale works, as in st francis of assisi preaching to the fish . Some, such as rest on the flight into egypt, resemble symbolist art in their sense of mystery and use of diffuse light effects.
Rest on The Flight into Egypt
Un des 247 dessins contenus dans les quatre albums Paris, Musée d’Orsay