Painted in 1846 as oil on canvas, The Cock Fight (sometimes known under the expanded title, 'Young Greeks Attending a Cock Fight'), was one of the first paintings that brought Gerome success as an artist. During the reign of Napoleon III, paintings harking back to the Classics became popular again and this movement was known as Neo-Grec style. The Cock Fight is often praised as the pinnacle example of this influential movement and its success at the Paris Salon, where it won the third-class medal in 1867, launched Jean-Leon Gerome's career. Throughout his life, Jean-Leon Gerome was heavily influenced by Greek mythology and much of his work explores academic themes and references. As his career as a painter progressed, he also began to take up sculpture. His interest in this second art form can be seen in many of his painting, with sculpted figures often appearing as part of the subject matter. However, the inspiration for The Cock Fight most likely came from a visit to Italy in 1843 under the tutelage of his mentor, Paul Delaroche. Set in the Bay of Naples, The Cock Fight is a painting of contrasts. It depicts a young, almost naked, boy and girl who look to be adolescent in years. Behind them can be seen the profile of a Sphinx, the mythological beast erected during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre. Like the one in Giza, he is also missing his nose. This instantly recognisable figure references back immediately to the world of ancient Egypt. The adolescents and the Sphinx represent the passage of time, youth and age side by side. In the background, the trees are green and alive, but the foreground shows crushed branches and dead leaves. The two cocks fighting are also locked in a battle of opposites - with all fights of this nature, only one will survive. Jean-Leon Gerome enjoyed much success throughout his career and was even commissioned by Napoleon III himself. His popularity as an artist enabled him to travel extensively, visiting Greece and Egypt among other places, which are popular inspirations for his work. The renowned French art critic, Theophile Gautier, noted the 'action and colour' in his paintings and praised Gerome's 'wonders of drawing'. The Cock Fight has been exhibited in several renowned galleries, including the Musee du Luxembourg and the Louvre. It is current on display in the Musee D'Orsay in Paris.