Isidore Pils was the son of the painter, Francois Pils, and, as a young man, the pupil of Guillaume Lethiere. As an adult, Pils studied with Francois-Edouard Picot in Paris, where an endless string of health problems began to plague his art career. Despite this, he won the Grande Prix de Rome in 1838, with his painting, St. Peter Healing a Lame Man at the Gate of the Temple, and returned to France in 1844. Pils’ greatest success was found in his realist approach to depicting scenes of the Crimean War; the victorious and patriotic appeal of his paintings earned him several commissions from the French government. Pils became a professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1863, where his reputation as a realist military painter and portrait artist remained high until his death in 1875.