Much like his aforementioned friend, Whistler, Henri Fantin-Latour was exposed to artistic training at an early age. Henri's father, an artist, taught him how to draw as a child and his talent developed from there as he attended art school and continued working into adulthood. Although Fantin was said to have befriended many of the Impressionists, like Manet, his style was always more traditional than his peers. This image created by Fantin resembles many of his portrait works, which always seem to employ a subtle use of light to encourage a mood. This portrait displays a man kneeling in what we can assume is a prayer, his hand outstretched in a gesture of pleading. This particular prayer is one of a whole series of prints detailing Richard Wagner, his life and works, and this print is Act V.
The print seen before you also uses a technique called lithography, which takes advantage of the natural inability to mix oil and water. A lithographer begins their process by rendering an image with a type of grease or wax unto a rigid, smooth, level surface such as a limestone or metal. Then, a mixture of acid and gum arabic would be applied to the greased surface, etching away the bare stone or metal. After this the entire surface is moistened and the etched portions of the stone or metal retain a small amount of water that repels the oil based ink and retains only on the original, grease-based image. Paper is then applied to the surface to create a print.
Alfonse Legros: Born in France, this master of many trades took the creative process seriously in every endeavor he tried. His initial schooling occurred in Dijon, where he pursued qualifications for a trade. Eventually these skills would lead him to a variety of mediums and crafts that would earn him wide recognition for mastery of every process he'd encounter. His success earned him modest wealth he used to encourage many apprentices and students to travel to Italy and to study art and craft. He worked as a professor at both South Kensington School of Art and later University College in London. Upon resigning his professorship in 1892, Legros' style reverted to his early years of imaginative landscapes, much like the abandoned village in this etching from 1894.