Simon Vouet

Madonna with Child

Madonna with Child
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Simon Vouet
History Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 99x76.5 cm
Origin: France, First half of the 17th century

Simon Vouet was the creator of a ?grand style? of painting which became well established in the court of Louis XIV. In addition to large canvases, he also painted small "salon" works which demonstrated his mastery of colour. One such work is his Madonna with Child, which formerly was in one of the famous Paris collections, that of Baron Pierre Crozat. This composition by Vouet was so well known and popular that it was reproduced a number of times by him and his workshop. Around ten versions are known to exist in various museums around the world. In this regard there has been speculation that the Hermitage painting could be either the original or a copy done in the workshop. However, the high quality of the painting allows us to say that this canvas was painted by Vouet himself.

The facial features of the Virgin in the Hermitage painting, just like those in the Madonna with a Curtain, painted in the same year , remind us of the profile of the artist's wife Virginie da Vezzo, who died not long before. It may be that Vouet painted both canvases in her memory. Despite the small dimensions, the canvas produces the impression of a monumental work, and this feeling is strengthened due to the presence in the composition of the column, against which the Virgin leans. The figure of the Madonna seems to be chiseled from a monolithic stone. Notwithstanding all the external majesty of the image, the artist strives to emphasize the spiritual closeness of the Madonna and the Child. The Child plays with the folds in the bodice of the dress, pulls at the face and lips of His mother, Who, with a light, slightly sad smile permits Him these amusements. She does not try to distance Herself from Him. Her pose is relaxed and Her state of mind is pacified.

Personage: Madonna and Child
Source of entry: Collection of baron L.A. Crozat de Tierra, Paris, 1772
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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