Eustache Le Sueur

Presentation of the Virgin

Presentation of the Virgin
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Eustache Le Sueur
Painting, Oil on canvas, 102.5x101.6 cm
Origin: France, Circa 1641

The Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple was a subject which entered painting from the apocryphal gospel of Jacob. The pious Joachim and Anne did not have children until old age. They were deeply saddened by this and constantly prayed for God to grant them a child. When their daughter, Mary, was born, they decided to dedicate the child to God and at the age of three she was sent to the Jerusalem temple to be brought up.

This painting was made under the influence of Simon Vouet's Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple dated 1641 . The figures in Le Sueur's work remind us of the personages in Vouet's composition. Sometimes the artist gives them different foreshortening and poses, but in other instances he precisely repeats the solutions of his master. Thus, for example, in both paintings in the foreground a poor old lady is depicted having an identical profile, though turned in different ways, while the figure of the young mother with a child in her arms, the features of her face, turn of the head and coiffeur are precisely taken from Vouet.

Despite this close similarity, Le Sueur gradually moved away from the painting manner of his teacher, with whom he is often confused, given the way their work was so close at one time. During these years the young artist came under a strong influence of Poussin and Raphael and this was reflected in the Hermitage painting, which is executed in a manner that is more calm and strict than Vouet's work.

Personage: Madonna
Style: Classicism
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: French Art: 15th - 18th centuries

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