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Simon Vouet

Painter, portrait painter and history painter

Born
1590 in Paris
Died
1649 in Paris

4 Works by Simon Vouet

Biography

Vouet's artistic career - a talent apparent at an early age, his first commission in England, journeys to Constantinople and Venice, long years in Rome - is unusual in many respects, and helped to shape his later activity in France. After his return to Paris around 1627, Vouet soon became a generally recognised artistic authority. His style, marked by both the Roman Baroque and Venetian colourism, set new standards and replaced the still prevailing late Mannerist style. The unique combination of temperament, elegance, and cool sensuousness in Vouet's art was ideally suited to the tastes and demands of the Parisian aristocracy, which was just then reconstituting itself, and to contemporary developments in religious life. With his multifaceted talent, he designed large-format altarpieces as well as brilliant decorations, which would make their impression on the French art of the first half of the century in much the same way that the works of Le Brun would in the second. The scope and variety of the tasks assigned to Vouet required a large workshop organisation in which, in addition to many assistants, young artists like Le Brun, Le Sueur and Mignard received their training. Such a working process may, for example, explain the considerable range of the surviving drawings, whose style and function were recently discussed most impressively by B. Brejon de Lavergnée on the basis of the holdings in Besançon. In view of the many projects designed by Vouet, one is struck by the small number of overall compositions compared to the preponderance of sheets with single figures and accompanying detail studies. Vouet tended to draw with black and white crayon on grey- or beige-tinted paper. The resulting effect of light and substance in combination with expansive gestures makes it easy to understand how in the eighteenth century, his drawings were highly regarded, especially by the generation of a Pierre Subleyras and François Boucher.

Persons connected to Simon Vouet