The Sentry (La Vedette)
A history painter, portraitist, and sculptor, Ernest Meissonier had particular success with military scenes, thanks to a meticulous realism. One such scene, The Sentry (La Vedette), 1890, is currently on view in the Galleries of Later European Art. In addition to Napoleonic battles, he painted scenes from his own time, including this sentry from a light infantry regiment and two of his fellow guards on duty beneath a gray sky. Meissonier's clients were the newly wealthy classes of the July Monarchy and Second Empire, who considered near-photographic realism a sign of artistic skill.