Siberdt, Eugène (Belgian, 1851-1931)

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Eugene Siberdt was an important Belgian painter of the late-19th and early 20th Centuries who became professor of drawing at the Antwerp Academy. Siberdt was successful in a range of artistic genres, including history painting, portraiture, genre scenes and Orientalist paintings all in the late-Romantic style.

Siberdt won the Prix de Rome in 1873 and shortly after began exhibiting in all of the most important Belgian salons. After becoming the Official Royal Portraitist, in 1883 he was made a professor at the Antwerp Academy.

Incidentally, it was at the Antwerp Academy that the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) studied under Siberdt, who was his teacher of drawing. Van Gogh clashed with many teachers at the Academy, but his quarrel with Siberdt occurred in February 1886 when Van Gogh was required to complete a drawing of the Venus de Milo, a classical sculpture of a female torso held in the Louvre, Paris. Van Gogh produced the torso of an ordinary peasant woman, at which Siberdt took offence at his defiance, and made corrections to the drawing. Van Gogh was incensed into a rage and let forth a tirade of anger toward Siberdt, and soon after he stopped attended classes. In late March, the Antwerp Academy ruled that Van Gogh would have to repeat the year.