Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Pietà" by Jean Fouquet

Jean Fouquet (c.1420 - c.1481)
Pietà c. 1445
Panel, 146 x 237 cm
Parish Church, Nouans-le-Fontaines

Jean Fouquet (c.1420 - c.1481) was the most important French painter of the 15th century. He was a master of both large-scale painting and manuscript illumination.

Jean Fouquet (c.1420 - c.1481)
Self-portrait 1450
Enameled copper
Musée du Louvre, Paris

He was formed in the tradition of International Gothic. However he took on board the innovative naturalist techniques of the Flemish school such as the van Eycks. He travelled to Italy and became familiar with the then new techniques of perspective of the Italian Florentine Renaissance pioneered by Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, and Filippo Lippi. He grafted the elements of the Tuscan style, which he had acquired during his stay in Italy, with the style of the Van Eycks, and thus became the founder of an important new school.

It was not until 1475 that Fouquet became Royal Painter (to Louis XI), but in the previous year he was asked to prepare designs for the king's tomb, and he must have been the leading court artist for many years under King Charles VII and his court.

In his depictions of people, he is realistic. In narrative, he is able to tell a story well.

As a minutiarist, his work is seen in fragments of the "Livre d'heures d'Etienne Chevalier" (1450-60), forty or so leaves of which survive.

His paintings were well thought out and planned beforehand. The image below illustrates Fouquets use of circles, the golden mean and regular polygons.