Habib Srour (1860-1938)

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Born in Lebanon in 1860, Habib Srour was 10 years old when his parents moved to Rome, where he went on to study at the Institute of Fine Arts. Srour was an important figure in the new wave of artistic renaissance emerging in Lebanon at the end of the 19th century. He is credited with introducing the basic principles of art technique, such as the importance of light, shadow and form, and using them in an expressive and evocative manner.

Srour was much in demand as a portrait painter of prominent Lebanese and Arab religious, social and political figures in the Ottoman Empire. As with all the artists of his generation, Srour was faithful to the classical school, but this did not prevent him from breaking out of the narrow framework of formalism in order to give himself some liberty in the choice and treatment of his subjects.

In his religious commissions, which were also highly sought after, the artist adopted a more conservative approach. But it is in his portraits, for which he is most known, where he experimented and expressed himself more freely.

Habib Srour died in 1938, but his work is as relevant today in the world of art as it was 95 years ago.

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