Belgian Painter, 1806-1865
Belgian painter and sculptor. He was from very humble origins, but his talent for drawing was detected at an early age. He was sent to the Antwerp Academie, where he attended classes given by W. J. Herreyns (1743-1827) and Mathieu Ignace Van Br?e. During a stay in Paris from 1829 to 1832 he came into contact with the Romantic painters, in particular Th?odore G?ricault, who fostered his admiration for Rubens. In 1832 he won the Belgian Prix de Rome and in 1834 left for Italy where the works of Raphael and, above all, Michelangelo made an overwhelming impression on him. In Rome he abandoned the landscapes and scenes from Roman life, for which he showed a certain talent, and embarked on a much more ambitious work, the Greeks and the Trojans Contesting the Body of Patroclus (1835; Brussels, Mus. Wiertz.). The painting proved the turning-point in Wiertz's career. Its frenzied composition and violently contorted figures excited considerable interest in Rome.