The art of Jean-Léon Gérôme, a student of Paul Delaroche, was immensely popular in its day: his works, disseminated in prints, testify to his skill and enquiring mind. He was passionate about history, an indefatigable traveller, an inspiring teacher and bold experimenter, helping to launch the neo-Grecian, Orientalist and historicist styles. An accomplished painter, he turned to sculpture, for which he had a gift, in later life. He would work from a very large original to enable the founders to reproduce details with accuracy. His Bonaparte Entering Cairo is one of an initial series of equestrian figures from history he executed in the 1890s. General Bonaparte is shown here at the end of his Egyptian campaign, saluting the crowd, bestriding a high-spirited horse saddled in an Orientalist manner: it is an effective allegory of a young victor imposing himself on a conquered country.