מסונייה נולד ב[[ליון]] שב[[צרפת]]. הוא החל לצייר ולרשום בצעירותו, למד אמנות בסטודיו של הצייר [[לאון קונייה]]. הוא ביקר ב[[רומא]] וב[[שוויץ]] והציג בשנת [] את יצירתו "הבורגנים ההולנדים" (''Les Bourgeois Flamands'') ב[[פריז]]. יצירה זו הינה אחת ממספר רב של יצירות מיניאטוריות בהם התמחה האמן (אשר היה הראשון שצייר בסוגת ציור זו בצרפת, וזכה להצלחה רבה).
בשנת [] הציג את היצירה "משחק שח" אשר זכתה להצלחה רבה, וכן גם יצירתו משנת [] "צעיר מנגון בצ'לו", היצירה משנת [] "האמן בסטודיו שלו", והיצירות "צעיר מביט על ציור", "בחדר המשמר" ו"משחק פיקה" משנת [].
[[Image:Meissonier - 1814, Campagne de France.jpg|thumb|left|275px|''1814. Campagne de France'' (Napoleon and his staff returning from Soissons after the Battle of Laon), 1864]]
After his ''Soldiers'' (1848) he began ''A Day in June'', which was never finished, and exhibited ''A Smoker'' (1849) and ''Bravos'' (''Les Bravi'', 1852). In 1855 he touched the highest mark of his achievement with ''The Gamblers'' and ''The Quarrel'' (''La Rixe''), which was presented by [[Napoleon III of France|Napoleon III]] to the English Court. His triumph was sustained at the Salon of 1857, when he exhibited nine pictures, and drawings; among them the ''Young Man of the Time of the Regency'', ''The Painter'', ''The Shoeing Smith'', ''The Musician'', and ''A Reading at Diderot's''. To the Salon of 1861 he sent ''The Emperor at Solferino'', ''A Shoeing Smith'', ''A Musician'', ''A Painter'', and ''M. Louis Fould''; to that of 1864 another version of ''The Emperor at Solferino'', and ''1814''. He subsequently exhibited ''A Gamblers' Quarrel'' (1865) and ''[[Louis Desaix|Desaix]] and the Army of the Rhine'' (1867).
[[Image:Meissonier.jpg|right|thumb|145px|right|Ernest Meissonier, undated photograph.]]
Meissonier worked with elaborate care and a scrupulous observation of nature. Some of his works, as for instance his ''1807'', remained ten years in course of execution. To the great [[Exposition Universelle (1878)|Exhibition of 1878]] he contributed sixteen pictures: the portrait of [[Alexandre Dumas, fils]] which had been seen at the Salon of 1877, ''Cuirassiers of 1805,'' ''A Venetian Painter,'' ''Moreau and his Staff before Hohenlinden,'' a ''Portrait of a Lady,'' the ''Road to La Salice,'' ''The Two Friends,'' ''The Outpost of the Grand Guard,'' ''A Scout,'' and ''Dictating his Memoirs.'' Thenceforward he exhibited less in the Salons, and sent his work to smaller exhibitions. Being chosen president of the [[Great National Exhibition]] in 1883, he was represented there by such works as ''The Pioneer'', ''The Army of the Rhine,'' ''The Arrival of the Guests,'' and ''Saint Mark.''
On the 24th of May 1884 an exhibition was opened at the [[Petit Gallery]] of Meissonier's collected works, including 146 examples. As president of the jury on painting at the [[Exposition Universelle (1889)|Exhibition of 1889]] he contributed some new pictures. In the following year the ''New Salon'' was formed (the ''[[Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts]]''), and Meissonier became its president. He exhibited there in 1890 his painting ''1807''; and in 1891, shortly after his death, his ''Barricade'' was displayed there.
A less well-known class of work than his painting is a series of [[etching]]s: ''The Last Supper,'' ''The Skill of Vuillaume the Lute Player,'' ''The Little Smoker,'' ''The Old Smoker,'' the ''Preparations for a Duel,'' ''Anglers,'' ''Troopers,'' ''The Reporting Sergeant,'' and ''Polichinelle,'' in the Hertford House collection. He also tried [[lithography]], but the prints are now scarcely to be found. Of all the painters of the century, Meissonier was one of the most fortunate in the matter of payments. His ''Cuirassiers,'' now in the late [[Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale|duc d'Aumale's]] collection at [[Château de Chantilly|Chantilly]], was bought from the artist for £10,000, sold at Brussels for £11,000, and finally resold for £16,000.
Besides his genre portraits, he painted some others: those of ''Doctor Lefevre,'' of ''Chenavard,'' of ''Vanderbilt,'' of ''Doctor Guyon,'' and of ''Stanford.'' He also collaborated with the painter [[François-Louis Français|Français]] in a picture of ''The Park at St Cloud.''
[[Image:Poissy - statue Meissonier1.jpg|right|thumb|145px|right|Statue of Meissonier at Parc Meissonier in [[Poissy]] ([[Yvelines]]), France.]]
In 1838 Meissonier married the sister of M. Steinheil, a painter. Meissonier was attached by Napoleon III to the imperial staff, and accompanied him during the campaign in Italy at the beginning of the war in 1870. During the [[siege of Paris]] in 1871 he was colonel of a regiment de marche, one of the improvised units thrown up in the chaos of the [[Franco-Prussian war]]. In 1840 he was awarded a third-class medal, a second-class medal in 1841, first-class medals in 1843 and 1844 and medals of honour at the great exhibitions. In 1846 he was appointed knight of the [[Légion d'honneur]] and promoted to the higher grades in 1856, 1867 (June 29), and 1880 (July 12), receiving the Grand Cross in 1889 (October 29).
He nevertheless cherished certain ambitions which remained unfulfilled. He hoped to become a professor at the [[École des Beaux-Arts]], but the appointment he desired was never given to him. He also aspired to be chosen deputy or made senator, but he was not elected. In 1861 he succeeded Abel de Pujol as member of the Academy of Fine Arts. On the occasion of the centenary festival in honour of Michelangelo in 1875 he was the delegate of the Institute of France to Florence, and spoke as its representative. Meissonier was an admirable draughtsman upon wood, his illustrations to ''Les Conies Rémois'' (engraved by Lavoignat), to Lamartine's ''Fall of an Angel to Paul and Virginia'', and to ''The French Painted by Themselves'' being among the best known. The leading engravers and etchers of France have been engaged upon plates from the works of Meissonier, and many of these plates command the highest esteem of collectors. Meissonier died in Paris on the 31st of January 1891.
When the [[Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts]] was re-vitalized, in 1890, Ernest Meissonier was elected its first chairman, but he died soon; his successor was [[Puvis de Chavannes]]. The vice-president was [[Auguste Rodin]].
His son, [[Jean Charles Meissonier]], also a painter, was his father's pupil, and was admitted to the Légion d'honneur in 1889.
תמונה:Ernest Meissonier 001.jpg|'''ה[[מצור על פריז]] בשנת 1870''', יצירה משנת 1884.
תמונה:Napoléon III à la bataille de Solférino..jpg|'''[[נפוליאון השלישי]] ב[[קרב סולפרינו]]''', יצירה משנת 1863.
תמונה:The Card Players - Ernest Meissonier.jpg|משחקי הקלפים, 1872.
Image:Leland Stanford p1070023.jpg|'''לילנד סטנפורד''', 1881.