Pages

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Famous Belgian: Philippe de Champaigne


CHAMPAIGNE, Philippe de (26 May 1602 - 12 August 1674)
The Annunciation
c. 1645
Oil on canvas, 334 x 214 cm
Wallace Collection, London



CHAMPAIGNE, Philippe de (26 May 1602 - 12 August 1674)
Ex Voto de 1662
1662
Oil on canvas, 165 x 229 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris



CHAMPAIGNE, Philippe de (26 May 1602 - 12 August 1674)
Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu (1585 - 1642)
probably 1642
Oil on canvas 58.4 x 72.4 cm
The National Gallery, London
Inscribed over the central head: "Celui cy...plus/Resamblant au naturel"; and over the right head: "De ces deux profilz c[elui]/cy est le meilleur
"


Philippe de Champaigne (26 May 1602 - 12 August 1674) was born in Brussels.

He moved to Paris in 1621, where he worked with Nicolas Poussin on the decoration of the Palais du Luxembourg under the direction of Nicolas Duchesne, whose daughter he married.

After the death of his protector Duchesne, Champaigne worked for the Queen Mother, Marie de Medicis, and for Richelieu, for whom he decorated the cardinal's palace, the Dome of the Sorbonne church and other buildings. He was a founding member of the Académie Royale de Peinture in 1648.

He was a prolific artist.

The subject matters of his painting covered portraiture, landscape, and religious themes.

He was the one of the most important painters active in Paris in the middle years of the 17th century.

On The Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne, see the appreciation in The Telegraph by Richard Dorment at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2006/12/19/baangels19.xml

He came under the influence of the Jansenist movement. This seems to have been because his daughter was cured as a result of prayer at the Convent of Port Royal.

L’ex-voto of 1662 commemorates what de Champaigne considered as the miraculous cure of his daughter from paralysis. His daughter, Soeur Catherine de Sainte Suzanne, was a nun at Port-Royal. By this work, Champaigne showed his gratitude to Christ for the cure. It is shown by the inscription which reads:

"AU CHRIST UNIQUE MÉDECIN DES CORPS ET DES ÂMES La soeur Catherine Suzanne de Champaigne après une fièvre de quatorze mois qui avait effrayé les médecins par son caractère tenace et l’importance de ses symptômes alors que presque la moitié de son corps était paralysée que la nature était déjà épuisée et que les médecins l’avaient abandonnée s’étant jointe en prière avec la Mère Catherine Agnès en un instant de temps ayant recouvré une parfaite santé s’offre à nouveau. Philippe de Champaigne cette image d’un si grand miracle et un témoignage de sa joie a présenté en l’année 1662."

The painting represents Mother-Superior Cathérine-Agnès Arnauld and Sister Cathérine de Sainte-Suzanne, the daughter of the artist.

Jansenism was an austere branch of Catholic thought that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace, and predestination. Amongst its followers included Blaise Pascal. On Jansenism, see:

Catholic Encyclopedia:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08285a.htm

Jansenism
http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/jansenis.htm

Infoplease on Jansenism
http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0858980.html
On Port Royal
http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0839836.html

In 1679, the Convent of Port Royal was forbidden to accept novices, heralding its eventual dissolution. The convent itself was decreed abolished by a bull from Pope Clement XI in 1708, the remaining nuns were forcibly removed in 1709, and the buildings themselves razed in 1710.