Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904)

Pollice Verso, by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Pollice Verso, 1872
This painting is generally accepted as popularizing the “thumbs down” gesture.

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And a classic: Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind, 1896

In 1902, Gérôme referred to the influence photography had upon painting: “Photography is an art. It forces artists to discard their old routine and forget their old formulas. It has opened our eyes and forced us to see that which previously we have not seen; a great and inexpressible service for Art. It is thanks to photography that Truth has finally come out of her well. She will never go back.”