Frederic Leighton was unique among eminent Victorian artists. He trained almost exclusively on the Continent, initially with the Nazarene artist Edward von Steinle (1810-1886) in Frankfurt, 1850-52, where his father, a successful doctor, had moved the family, and subsequently with Giovanni Costa (1826-1903) in Rome, 1852, where he painted his first masterwork, Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna Is Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence (Her Majesty the Queen). While in Paris from 1855 to 1859, he associated with many of the leading artists of the century, including Ingres (q.v.), Delacroix (q.v.), Corot (q.v.), and Millet (q.v.), which had the beneficial consequences of relieving the ardent veracity of his Nazarene style with a more painterly approach and of introducing greater naturalism and atmosphere into his landscape studies. Settling in London in 1859, Leighton at first antagonized the art establishment, which found his style of painting and his predilection for the French "art for art's sake" doctrine vexing; however, he was welcomed by the Pre-Raphaelites and their adherents. The year 1864 was decisive in that Leighton was elected an associate of the Royal Academy after the public success of three exhibition pictures-a historical illustration, Dante in Exile (Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, London); Orpheus and Eurydice (Leighton House Art Gallery and Museum, London) with its new classicism; and his personal favorite, Golden Hours (Tapeley Chattels Trust, Tapeley), in which the palette, execution, and subject evoke the most sumptuous of sixteenth-century Venetian painting. In the late 1860s Leighton's interests gradually transferred from historical and biblical themes to Greek classicism. Jonathan's Token to David (1868, Minneapolis Institute of Arts), for instance, with its overt reference to Michelangelo's David, transformed a biblical subject into a classicizing essay on male beauty. Numerous trips to the Near East and to Greece reinforced this pursuit of the ideal, a preoccupation that placed Leighton at the center of a growing group of younger aesthetic classical painters in London, including Sandys (q.v.), Albert Moore (1841-1893), and Edward Poynter (1836-1919). The final phase of Leighton's development was already fully evident in such works as Hercules Wrestling with Death for the Body of Alcestis (1869-71, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford). Like Delacroix, Leighton's inexhaustible creativity and expansive interests prompted him also to undertake monumental decorative schemes, most notably the Arts of Industry murals at the South Kensington Museum (1871-83), and to participate in the revival of British sculpture with such masterworks of the genre as the bronze Athlete Wrestling with a Python (1877, Tate Gallery, London). Although little known for portraiture, his half-length painting of explorer Sir Richard Burton (National Portrait Gallery, London) is a tour-de-force of characterization. His draftsmanship was also consistently exceptional. With his election to the presidency of the Royal Academy in 1878, Leighton legitimately assumed his distinguished place in the gallery of British academics, alongside Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). Yet despite the obligations of his office, he remained extremely productive, with no diminution in output or inspiration. Of the important pictures of his last decade, Captive Andromache (1888, Manchester City Art Gallery) and Flaming June (1895, Museo de Arte de Ponce) remain consummate statements of the aesthetic movement's eroticism. Leighton was obsessive, controlling, and self-absorbed, but also generous to younger artists and deeply committed to his profession. On the eve of his death, he became the first British artist to receive a barony.