Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens (11 May 1823 – 24 August 1906) was aBelgian painter
After the death of his father in 1837, Stevens left middle school to begin study at theAcadémie Royale des Beaux-Artsin Brussels, where he knewFrançois Navez, the Neo-Classical painter and former student ofJacques-Louis Davidwho was its director and an old friend of Stevens’s grandfather.
Following a traditional curriculum, he drew from casts of classical sculpture for the first two years, and then drew from live models. In 1843, Stevens went toParis, joining his brother Joseph who already was there.
He was admitted to theÉcole des Beaux-Arts, the most important art school in Paris. Although it is said that he became a student of its directorJean Auguste Dominique Ingres, this is likely not true.
An early picture by Stevens, The Pardon or Absolution (Hermitage, St. Petersburg), signed and dated 1849, shows his mastery of a conventional naturalistic style which owes much to 17th-century Dutchgenre painting. Like the Belgian painter and friend with whom he stayed in Paris,Florent Joseph Marie Willems (1823-1905), Stevens carefully studied works by painters such asGerard ter Borch andGabriel Metsu.