Two Paintings from the Ecole de Fontainebleau Acquired by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux

24/12/12 - Acquisitions - Château de Cadillac and château d’Azay-le-Rideau - The Centre des Monuments Nationaux, which manages several châteaux, has a very active acquisitions policy enabling it to refurnish the properties with historically appropriate works.
Two paintings from (or after) the Second Fontainebleau School were therefore recently purchased, one for the château in Cadillac, the other for the one in Azay-le-Rideau.

1. French School, after Ambroise Dubois (1543-1614)
Theagenes Wounded, c. 1610-1620
Oil on Canvas - 85 x 117 cm
Cadillac, château
Photo : Centre des Monuments Nationaux

2. Ambroise Dubois (1543-1614)
Theagenes and Chariclea , c. 1610
Oil on Canvas - 162 x 233 cm
Fontainebleau, château
Photo : RMNGP/G. Blot

The first canvas was acquired at Christie’s London on 9 November 2011. It represents Theagenes Wounded (ill. 1) and reproduces a detail of Theagenes and Chariclea Wounded, Spied upon by Thieves by Ambroise Dubois held at the château in Fontainebleau (ill. 2). It is very likely that this painting was cut off but originally had the same composition as the second one.
In fact, the original cycle was often copied throughout the 17th century. Although the work acquired by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux cannot be attributed to Dubois himself, it is nevertheless a fine old copy. Another copy after a canvas in the same cycle, Theagenes Setting Fire to the Altar with Chariclea’s Torch (ill. 3) had already been acquired at auction by the CMN for Cadillac in June 2009 (we had not mentioned it) and had been presented at the exhibition Henri IV a Fontainebleau.

3. French School, after Ambroise Dubois (1543-1614)
Theagenes Setting Fire to the Altar
with Chariclea’s Torch
, c. 1610
Oil on Canvas - 197.6 x 114.1 cm
Cadillac, château
Photo : Centre des Monuments Nationaux

4. Second School of Fontainebleau
Constantine’s Vision
Oil on Canvas - 121 x 155 cm
Azay-le-Rideau, château
Photo : Centre des Monuments Nationaux

The second painting represents Constantine’s Vision (ill. 4). It shows the emperor converting upon seeing the apparition of the sign of the Cross before his battle against Maxentius. This is not a copy however, but an original whose author has not yet been identified for sure. The work was acquired in November 2012 thanks to Cécile Scaillierez, chief curator of paintings at the Louvre, who pointed it out to the CMN since its owner, a private individual, wished to sell it.
Although the artist has not been identified, the painter has been associated with a work by Philippe Millereau, The Sacrifice of Iphigenia due to its style and composition. The name of Jacob Bunel has also been suggested [1].
The location of this painting at the château in Azay-le-Rideau has not yet been chosen. It might hang on the first floor in the King’s chamber which the CMN wishes to refurnish as indicated by the inventory established after the death of Antoinette Raffin on 6 February 1629, or else on the ground floor in the Biencourt salon in order to recall - though it was not part of the ensemble - the collection of the Marquis de Biencourt.

Version française

Didier Rykner, vendredi 4 janvier 2013


[1] This information was taken from the entry presented to the Commission d’Acquisition.

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