Thomas Couture was a classical 19th Century history painter and portraitist, most famous for his "Romans in the Decadence of the Empire" found today in Musée D'Orsay at a grand 472 x 772 cm (15 feet by 25 feet).

He was critical of the moral decadence of France under the July monarchy (the ruling class) and alluding to French society the "Romans" of his masterpiece translated to "French in the Decadence." He later left Paris and started his own school, and among his students were Edouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.