Théodule Augustin Ribot was a history, genre, portrait and still life painter and watercolourist. He married in 1845.
Ribot studied at the École des Arts et Métiers in Châlon and in the studio of Auguste-Barthélémy Glaize in Paris. Around 1848 he went to Algeria, and on his return in 1851 he made his living by colouring lithographs, decorating window-shades, painting signs and making copies of paintings by artists such as Watteau for an American clientelle. It was not until the late 1850s that he began to paint his own Realist works. Influenced by Rembrandt and Frans Hals, he produced religious subjects, genre scenes and still-lifes, painted in muted tones and using effects of chiaroscuro. In later years he turned largely to portraiture.
The Salon rejected Ribot's work in 1859, but he exhibited in the studio of his friend François Bonvin. In 1861 four paintings depicting cooks were accepted by the Salon, and in 1864 and 1865 he was awarded a medal. His St Sebastian (1865; Musée d'Orsay, Paris), which showed the influence of Ribera and the seventeenth century Spanish masters, was purchased by the state for 6000 francs. Ribot exhibited at the International in Amsterdam in 1865, in Munich in 1869 and in Vienna in 1873. He was awarded the Légion d'honneur in 1878 and a special award at the 1878 International Exhibition in Paris.
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Weisberg, Gabriel P., 'Théodule Ribot', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 5 March 2003).