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Eustache Le Sueur

Painter and Draughtsman

1616 in Paris
1655 in Paris

6 Works by Eustache Le Sueur


His study under Simon Vouet and long employment in his workshop served as the crucial point of departure for Le Sueur's artistic career, which was spent solely in Paris, with no stay in Italy. A series intended for tapestry on the theme of the 'Hypnerotomachia Poliphili' from around 1636-38 illustrates the similarity of the two artists, but at the same time Le Sueur's detachment from the older man. His subsequent works reveal the influence of Poussin and Raphael, and lead to a neoclassicism of a unique kind that was highly appropriate given the general tendencies of this time. Called the 'Raphael de la France,' in his brief lifetime Le Sueur gained high esteem that would persist into the late eighteenth century. But it was precisely the qualities so highly regarded at the time, the combination of neoclassicism and an emotionalism bordering on sentimentality, that caused Le Sueur to be forgotten in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is only the newly awakened interest in neoclassicism on the part of modern art historians that has again called attention to him. Aside from his large paintings, mainly altarpieces, Le Sueur's name is especially associated with the following series: the 'Cabinet de l'Amour' (1646-1648) and 'Salon des Muses' (1652-1655), both originally in the Hôtel Lambert (Île Saint-Louis), and above all the twenty-three-part series on the life of St Bruno (1645-1648) for the Carthusians in the Quartier du Luxembourg (now Musée du Louvre). As might be expected given his skill and reputation, Le Sueur was one of the founding members of the Paris Academy in 1648. The aesthetic quality of his drawings and the painstaking preparation for his paintings explain their survival in quantity and their value largely independent of contemporary taste.

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