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My first attempt on a large canvas. I studied this picture and though that the challenge for me was the action and expressions of fear and whether I could capture that on each individual. Capturing the movement of hurry as the smoke is coming through the door and the man shamefully escaping through the window as the woman tries to shield her children from the fire was also a challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed it and painting this picture gave me confidence to move forward in a positive way taking on pictures of a larger scale and to feel the fear and do it anyway (which I did!).



Jean Pierre Alexandre Antigna was born in Orléans, France, where his earliest training took place, under a local painter, François Salmon. On October 9, 1837, he entered the École nationale supérieure des BeauxArts in Paris where he was a pupil of Sebastien Norblin de la Gourdaine as well as the renowned Paul Delaroche. His paintings were generally religious scenes and portraits. Yet, after living in the poor quarter of the Île Saint-Louis in Paris he would incorporate images of the suffering and burden of urban poor into his works. By the 1848 Revolution, Antigna was devoted to the Realist style, and continued to paint in this manner until c. 1860 when he began to produce paintings in the Naturalist vein. He exhibited at the Salon and received the Legion of Honour in 1861.

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