A student of Jouffroy and de Falguière at the Ecole des beaux-arts, Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié (1845-1916) won the Grand Prix de Rome at 23 years old with his work Thésée vainqueur du Minotaure. In 1872, he sent the plaster model of his work David vainqueur to the Salon, for which he won the first class medal. At the same time, he received La croix de la Légion d'honneur at the Villa Medici. His return to Paris, in 1874, issued in a long and brilliant career with numerous commissions, notably the monuments for Louis-Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie for the Royal Chapel at Dreux (1886).
By the age of 30 Mercié was already very well-known and his Gloria Victis received resounding success when it was exhibited at the Salon, in 1874 (in plaster) and in 1875 (in bronze). 2.20 m. high, this work exalted the heroism and the patriotic sentiments aroused by the disasters of 1870. His predilection for patriotic subjects is shown in many of his works such as Quand même, the celebrated bronze group erected at Belfort in 1884, and Jeanne d'Arc relevant l'épée de la France at Domrémy in 1902.
From 1880, Mercié began painting but it was his sculpture that won him awards and medals. In 1892, he entred L'Institut de France and in 1913, three years before his death, he was nominated as president of La Société des artistes français.