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Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor, and a pupil of Paul Delaroche. He inherited his highly finished academic style almost directly from Delaroche. His best-known works are his oriental scenes, the fruit of several visits to Egypt. They won Gérôme great popularity and he had considerable influence as an upholder of academic tradition and enemy of progressive trends in art; he opposed, for example, the acceptance by the state of the Caillebotte bequest of Impressionist pictures.

Gérôme was a proponent of the orientalist movement and a "lion" in the international artistic circles. His first work, The Cockfight, shown in the Show of 1847, illustrated his concern for authentic detail which he obtained by frequent voyages to Egypt and Constantinople.

His marriage with the daughter of legendary collector and art broker Adolphe Goupil facilitated the sales of his works. Goupil worked with the collectors of contemporary academic artists and ensured great fame to Gérôme. Gérôme was a Professor in the Art Schools starting around 1864, although he saw his popularity declining toward the end of his life, partly because of his opposition to the Impressionist painters.

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