Antoine Joseph Wiertz (22 February 1806 – 18 June 1865) was a Belgian romantic painter and sculptor. Born in Dinant from a relatively poor family, he entered the Antwerp art academy in 1820. Thanks to his protector Pierre-Joseph de Paul de Maibe, a member of the Second Chamber of the States-General, king William I of the Netherlands awarded an annual stipend to Wiertz from 1821 onwards. Between November 1829 and May 1832, he stayed in Paris, where he studied the old masters at the Louvre. In 1828, Wiertz came out second in the competition for the prestigious Prix de Rome which he attained on his second attempt in 1832; it enabled him to go to the French Academy at Rome, where he resided from May 1834 until February 1837. Upon his return, he established himself in Liège with his mother. During his stay in Rome, Wiertz worked on his first great work, Les Grecs et les Troyens se disputant le corps de Patrocle (“Greeks and Trojans fighting for the body of Patroclus”, finished in 1836), on a subject borrowed from book XVII of Homer’s Iliad. It was exhibited in Antwerp in 1837, where it met with some success. Wiertz submitted the work for the Paris Salon of 1838, but it arrived too late and was refused.