Antoine Rivalz painting purchased by the Musée des Augustins de Toulouse

1. Antoine Rivalz (1667-1735)
Saint Michael Crushing the Rebel Angels
Oil on canvas - 170 x 130 cm
Toulouse, Musée des Augustins
Photo : All rights reserved

22/12/08 – Acquisitions – Toulouse, Musée des Augustins – Last 12 December at Drouot (Cornette de Saint Cyr SVV sale), the museum in Toulouse preempted a canvas by Antoine Rivalz, a native of that city, representing Saint Michael Crushing the Rebel Angels (ill. 1) for 92,040€ (including charges).

A painting with this subject had been commissioned to replace The Resurrection of Lazarus by Sebastiano del Piombo (London, National Gallery), which the Archbishop of Narbonne René-François de Beauvau had given to the Regent Philippe d’Orléans. The work was installed in the Narbonne cathedral, where it can still be seen today, sometime around 1727 [1]. The canvas acquired at Drouot is either a study as Jean Penent claims, or rather, according to Axel Hemery, a curator at the Musée des Augustins, an acknowledged replica executed after the Narbonne painting. The measurements (170 x 130) seem too big for a study, even for a modello, and might correspond in fact to a commission for an altarpiece in a private chapel. The differences with the large painting are minimal. Two very accomplished drawings of the same composition are also known. The first is in black chalk, brown wash and highlighted in white gouache [2], the second in red chalk and white highlights, squared, is according to Jean Penent more likely a ricordo [3]. Both sheets are held at the Musée Paul-Dupuy. The Musée des Augustins also owns a Self-portrait by the artist (ill. 2) where he shows himself drawing the composition.

2. Antoine Rivalz (1667-1735)
Self-Portrait with the Drawing of
Saint Michael Crushing the Rebel Angels

Oil on canvas - 83 x 64 cm
Toulouse, Musée des Augustins
Photo : Musée des Augustins

3. Nicolas-Didier Boguet (1755-1839)
Landscape in the Roman Countryside
Oil on canvas - 92.7 x 130.2 cm
Toulouse, Musée des Augustins
Photo : Musée des Augustins

The work can be seen as having a connection to Charles Le Brun’s project for the ceiling in the chapel at Versailles, which was never executed although the composition is known thanks to a study at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon and also through an engraving by Alexis Loir. In 1694, during his stay in Rome, Rivalz had already produced a large drawing (126 x 73.5 cm.) of a comparable subject, Jupiter Striking Down the Titans [4] (Rome, Académie de Saint Luc).

A few months ago, the Musée des Augustins had also purchased a landscape (ill. 2) by Nicolas-Didier Boguet, a French artist who spent his whole life in Italy, on the Parisian art market (Galerie Teissèdre). The canvas was not completed and the composition is drawn in pencil on the bottom and at the left. It was auctioned at Sotheby’s New York on 26 January 2007 as being only “attributed to Nicolas-Didier Boguet”.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 22 décembre 2008


[1] See Jean Penent, Antoine Rivalz 1667 – 1735. Le Romain de Toulouse, Editions Somogy, 2004, p. 92-95 and p. 249-252. Jean Penent is the director of the Musée Paul-Dupuy which holds the drawings collection for the city of Toulouse.

[2] See op. cit. note 1, cat. 502.

[3] See op. cit. note 1, cat. 506.

[4] See op. cit. note 1, cat. 19.

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