Gustave Doré

Gustave Doré is a famous French engraver.  Although not necessarily well known today, then, his work was widely known, and his engravings spread the Bible to more people than most written editions ever will.  Most astonishingly of all, he appears to have acquired this gift before he had any training, although later training in life did refine his talents.  At the age of 15, though, his father brought him to Paris, where he saw an illustrated edition of the labors of Hercules, stories which he knew very well.  He found the illustrations in the book to be inferior, and so the next day he feigned sickness, in order that he might be left alone at home.  When his father and brother left, young Gustave drew up six pictures in two and a half hours.

He brought these pictures to the director of the Journal pour Rire, who recognized the great talent present, and asked the boy to draw another sample for him in order to verify the provenance of the drawings.  Gustave’s talent being proved, he was granted a three year contract, during which time he would also attend school at the Lycée Charlemagne, an education that went unfinished, since it became clear that Gustave knew more than his teachers about art.


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