A Painting by Giovanni Boulanger Acquired by Troyes

Giovanni Boulanger (1606-1660)
Allegory of Conversation
Oil on Canvas - 67 x 82.5 cm
Troyes, Musée Saint-Loup
Photo : Musée Saint-Loup

28/02/12 - Acquisition - Troyes, Musée Saint-Loup - Born in Troyes, Jean (or Giovanni) Boulanger left for Italy at a young age but, unlike many of his fellow artists, never returned to France, spending his entire career south of the Alps. After passing through Guido Reni’s studio, he placed himself at the service of the Duke of Modena starting in 1638 and painted the décor at the Palazzo d’Este, in Sassuolo, notably the gallery [1]. Despite an abundant production while working for the duke and for various churches in the region, very few acknowledged pieces have come down to us. One of his best known paintings, Nausicaa’s Dream, formerly given to Charles-Alphonse Dufresnoy, resides in Salzbourg.

The canvas was acquired by the Troyes museum [2] from the Paola Rosa Gallery in Monaco. It had been auctioned in London on 10 April 1990 at Phillips, with an attribution to the circle of Giulio Carpioni.
It is hard to see any influence of Guido Reni here. The work reveals rather a very elegant late Mannerism and, indeed, some specialists have correctly seen certain ties to the painter Nicolo dell’Abbate. A careful look at this composition, which probably represents an Allegory of Conversation (despite some differences with the iconographic description of Cesare da Ripa) also elicits memories of Laurent de la Hyre’s early paintings, which in turn can be linked to the artists belonging to the School of Fontainebleau. The canon of the figures recalls, for example, those of The Tile at the Musée du Louvre.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 29 février 2012


[1] See Miriam Milnam, Le Trompe-L’oeil : les illusions de la réalité, Geneva, 1992.

[2] Thanks to the Fonds Régional d’Acquisition des Musées, to the city of Troyes and to the association Amis des musées d’Art et d’Histoire de Troyes.

imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford Launches a Campaign to Save a Manet

Next article in News Items : Work, and Damages, Continues at Ancenis