Vignon, Sarrazin et Corneille : Three 17th c. Paintings Acquired by the CMN

30/12/12 - Acquisitions - Cadillac, château and Paris, Hôtel de Sully - In a recent news item (in French), we had mentioned the acquisition by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux of two paintings from the second school of Fontainebleau to be used in refurnishing the châteaux it manages.
We continue our review of purchases by this public establishment with its acquisition of three paintings from the first half of the 17th century which have recently joined French public collections thanks to the CMN.

1. Claude Vignon (1593-1670)
Pieta, c. 1635
Oil on Copper - 38 x 30 cm
Cadillac, château
Photo : Centre des Monuments Nationaux

- A small Pieta on copper by Claude Vignon (ill. 1) has just been purchased from the Mendès Gallery in Paris for the château in Cadillac. While Claude Vignon’s works are far from rare in French museums, his coppers are much less numerous. This one will hang in the Oratoire of the Duke d’Epernon located on the ground floor of the château’s right wing. Its original furnishing is not specifically documented but we do know that it housed "a gilt altarpiece in which thirteen small and very beautiful paintings are encased, representing the death and Passion of Jesus Christ with a walnut bench to be used for kneeling before said ’prie-Dieu’" [1]. In fact, the second Duke of Epernon owned several paintings by Claude Vignon at his private residence in Paris, the hôtel de Chevreuse-Longueville, (the only one known today is the Godefroy de Bouillon at the church of Saint Roch).
The CMN’s refurnishing policy consists in acquiring authentic period works even if they are not the original ones (most of them are unidentified). This is a much more commendable initiative than the one recently adopted by the château de Versailles which does not hesitate to exhibit modern copies...

2. Jacques Sarazin (1592-1660)
The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Child,
c. 1645-1650
Oil on Canvas - 110 x 87 cm
Paris, Hôtel de Sully
Photo : Centre des Monuments Nationaux

3. Pierre Daret (1604-1678)
after Jacques Sarazin (1592-1660)
The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Child,
c. 1645-1650
Aquafortis - 33.8 x 35.6 cm
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France
Photo : Bibliothèque nationale de France

- The second painting is very rare as this is a canvas by the sculptor Jacques Sarazin representing The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Child (ill. 2) purchased from the Pardo Gallery.
The composition was known thanks to the engraving (ill. 3) and by another version, a tondo like the print, which the reference catalogue on the artist [2] mistakenly pointed out as being a copy. This was actually an original acquired in 1992 by the Musée du Noyonnais. This unpublished version, in a rectangular and vertical format, also acquired by the CMN, was possibly the Virgin with Sleeping Child which was part of the Louis Hesselin collection in the 17th century [3].
Although he was a collaborator of Simon Vouet, Sarazin here is much closer to the more classical art of Jacques Stella. This beautiful painting, important in our further knowledge of the artist, fits beautifully into what is now called, in a term coined by Jacques Thuillier, "atticisme parisien". It was acquired for the apartment of the Duchess at the Hôtel de Sully in Paris which is currently undergoing restoration.

4. Michel Corneille (c. 1603-1664)
The Old Woman and Charity,
c. 1657-1660
Oil on Canvas - 129 x 95 cm
Paris, Hôtel de Sully
Photo : Centre des Monuments Nationaux

- The third 17th century painting was also purchased for the Duchess’ apartment in the Hôtel de Sully, two years ago but we had not yet mentioned it here. This is a canvas by Michel 1er Corneille (ill. 4) bought at auction at Christie’s London on 8 December 2010 for 46, 822 euros (including charges). Although at the time it had been identified as Vertumnus and Pomona, in fact it represents the first episode of the story of Psyche, that is the theme of The Old Woman and Charity [4]. This painting was part of a series of six, produced for the Hôtel Amelot de Bisseuil, also known as that of the Ambassadeurs de Hollande à Paris. While the ceiling, representing The Apotheosis of Psyche is still preserved in situ, this canvas is the first from the cycle to have resurfaced.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 7 janvier 2013


[1] Inventory of 1652, information taken from the written entry for the acquisition of this work.

[2] Jacques Sarazin. Sculpteur du Roi 1592-1660, Musée du Noyonnais, 1992.

[3] Moana Weil-Curiel, Recherches sur Louis Hesselin (1602-1662), ses résidences et ses collections, Doctoral thesis, Paris, EPHE, 2003. This information is drawn from the entry written by Clotilde Roy for the acquisition of the work.

[4] Here again, we have referred to an entry by Clotilde Roy.

imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : Publication of "La recherche au Musée du Louvre 2011"

Next article in News Items : A Painting by Luca Penni Acquired by the Louvre