Hyacinthe Rigaud, portrait of marquise De Vauban

Our maison is proud to present this important oil painting on canvas depicting Sébastien Le Prestre, marquis de Vauban, generally known as Vauban (1633 - 1707), appointed Marshal of France by Louis XIV. This painting is attributed to the great French master and portraitist Hyacinthe Rigaud; several times we have presented works similar to this one, since we are first and foremost amateurs and collectors of the fine French portraiture of the 17th and 18th centuries. 

France, late 17th century 
Oil on canvas, coeval daisy frame 
Visible dimensions 92 cm x 75 cm, with frame 112 cm x 95 cm (44,094 in x 37.40 in)
Provenance du château de loches 'marquis de Lafayette'

Looking at the work, the extraordinary elegance of the costumes is striking, typical of the period between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the era in which the reign of the Sun King ruled. 
Class, elegance, good taste and refinement follow one another, all attributes that a painter was called to grasp if he wanted to try his hand at the wealthy and worldly classes of the France of the time. 
The big wig, with its chromatic vigor and its breadth, evidently marks the composition of the work, the latter being a model of wig in vogue at the time, a fashion introduced by Louis XIV and called "perruque léonine". 

The blue of the eyes shows a powdered and aristocratic face, while a jabot of white lace knotted at the neck emerges from the embroidered silk jacket, at the bottom, a cloak in Prussian blue decorated and embroidered with gold thread, worn casually and charm seems to frame part of the portrait by completing the work. 

Soft and full-bodied brushstrokes with shiny and bright colors imprison and excite the spectator, impressed above all by the accuracy of the details. The portrait is framed by a splendid coeval frame, in stucco and carved wood and gilded with the pure gold leaf, the latter is a very rare and precious frame model, called "a papillon" (from the French papillon = butterfly) because of decorative motifs present in the corners and in the center imitating butterfly wings. These are alternated with pompous floral decorations and, in the smooth parts, splendid burin engravings, a true masterpiece of the eighties cabinet-making, a period in which "beating" the gold leaf by hand was a very difficult task, few were the masters art capable of realizing it, helping itself with rudimentary mortars and thus giving life to gold leaves of consistent thickness and consequently onerous. 

Hyacinthe Rigaud, 
a French portrait painter of Catalan origins, was born in Perpignan in Spain on 18 July 1659. His artistic training began in the family as his father, a tailor, worked as a painter and gilder, he continued with the painter Antonio Guerra 1634-1705) from which he learns a lot. In 1669, on the death of his father François Hyacinthe Rigaud, he continued his apprenticeship as a gilder until 1671 when he was accepted for his innate predisposition to painting and colors at the Academy of St. Luke in Montpellier. From this time the young Rigaud devoted himself to copying the portraits of Van Dyck by Rubens and Sébastien Bourdon to learn their style, continuing even after leaving for Lyon in 1675, before continuing on to his final destination in Paris in 1681. The journey to Paris, in the intention of the painter, served to see and study the works of the great painters welcomed in the famous Academy that Louis XIV had created at the beginning of his reign. 

The following year he won the prestigious Prix de Rome, the scholarship that allowed him to make a stay at the French Academy in Rome, but Le Brun, the first court painter, after seeing some of his portraits, finding them very well made , advised him not to go to Rome, but to devote himself entirely to the portrait. His skill in creating imposing poses and great presentations met the favor of the characters of the royal family, ambassadors, churchmen, courtiers and great men of business posed for him. 

The paintings of Hyacinthe Rigaud are still highly appreciated today because the painter was very faithful in the similarities of the portrayed subjects, but they are an inexhaustible source of details regarding the clothing of the time and of the furniture. His most famous painting is the Portrait of Louis XIV from 1701 exhibited in the Louvre Museum in Paris, but during his long career he painted more than a thousand portraits. Rigaud died in Paris on December 27, 1743 after receiving admiration and noble titles in recognition of his art; of his death it is said that "France has lost a Van Dyck, in the person of Hyacinthe Rigaud". The expert of the gallery will issue the relevant Certificate of Authenticity with a photo of Wood's lamp and spectrometer examination of the canvas, this document will provide an additional identification of the work, it will ensure that the picture is created and attributed as described in the notes. 

Personalized payments will be accepted 

Ms Sergio Schina 
La Corte degli Ulivi Gallery

click on the thumbnails to enlarge pictures


Price: � 12500

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