Born in the Louvre during the French Revolution, painter Emile Jean Horace Vernet would reject the academic French school of Classicism, instead choosing to paint contemporary subjects and scenes throughout his career.
He was the son of painter Carle Vernet, and would have studied at his father's elbow, and like him he captured soldiers, horses and battles in a realistic light, and not in a romanticized or idealized fashion. Additionally he trained with Francois Andre Vincent until 1810, when he first competed for the Prix de Rome.
Vernet began to exhibit in the Salon in 1812, and in 1814 he received the Legion d'honneur.
Early in his career he began painting large scale battle scenes, though not always the most current, for example he was painting scenes from the Revolution as late as the 1830s. Many of his paintings commemorated significant battles and moments in French history, and instead of the typical singular incident or moment of a particular battle he introduced the entire battlefield into the view.
His disdain for the Classical school of David, and its willingness to cater to the whims of political leaders, inspired him to hold fast in his own works. In fact, he was once asked by Louis Napoleon to remove an individual general from a painting, a request he refused and to which Vernet replied "I am a painter of history.and I will not violate truth".