Ary Scheffer was born in Hamburg on 10 February 1795, the son of a portrait painter. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Amsterdam and by the age of 11; Scheffer was attending an art academy, studying drawing.
- In 1808 his father became the Court Painter for Louis Bonaparte in Amsterdam, but unfortunately he died a year later.
- By 1811, Ary and his mother moved to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts as a pupil of Pierre-Narcisse Guérin.
- By the following year, Scheffer started exhibiting at the Salon de Paris.
- It took 5 years before his work began to be recognized.
Scheffer often painted subjects from literature, especially the works of Dante, Byron and Goethe. Two versions of Dante and Beatrice have been preserved at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, United Kingdom, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.
Later on, Ary’s popular Faust-themed paintings included: Marguerite at Her Wheel; Faust Doubting; Marguerite at the Sabbat; Marguerite Leaving Church; Marguerite and Faust in the Garden (see above), and Marguerite at the Well.
- Scheffer became an Associate Member of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands in 1846 but resigned 5 years later in 1851.
- He continued his frequent travels to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and England, but a heart condition slowed him down and on 15 June, 1858 he took his own life at his summerhouse in Argenteuil.
- He is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre – ending another Faustian tragedy.