Jacques Blanchard 1600-1638
La descente du Saint Esprit/ The descent of the Holy Spirit [May 1634]
Oil on canvas
Chapelle des Fonds Baptismaux,
La cathédrale Notre-Dame, Paris
"We celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, in which the liturgy has us relive the birth of the Church, according to what St Luke narrates in the book of the Acts of the Apostles (2: 1-13).
Fifty days after Easter, the Holy Spirit descended on the community of disciples - "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer" - gathered with "Mary, the mother of Jesus" and with the Twelve Apostles (cf. Acts 1: 14; 2: 1).
We can therefore say that the Church had its solemn beginning with the descent of the Holy Spirit.
In this extraordinary event we find the essential and qualifying characteristics of the Church: the Church is one, like the community at Pentecost, who were united in prayer and "concordant": "were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4: 32). "
BENEDICT XVI: Saint Peter's Square, Pentecost Sunday, 27 May 2007
Blanchard left for Rome at the age of twenty-four. After a number of years in Italy especially Venice where he imbibed the Venetian masters, he returned to France in 1628.
He was called "the French Titian".
He unfortunately died young.