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François Perrier

(called Bourguignon, 1594 Pontarlier – 1649 Paris)

Portrait of Simon Vouet. Etching. 30.6 x 21.4 cm. 1632. Robert-Dumesnil 12, Le Blanc 195. Watermark: Circle with fleur-de-lis.

This is François Perrier’s sole portrait etching, which he made in honour of his friend and mentor, Simon Vouet. The portrait was taken in 1632 when the painter Perrier was Vouet’s chief collaborator in Paris. Vouet is shown in three-quarter figure in an oval frame; his pose and dress convey a self-confident attitude and high social status. The portrait is remarkable for its delightful trompe l’oeil illusionism. Two winged allegorical female figures flank the oval portrait. Their graceful shapes end in horns of plenty bearing a lion’s skin on which the date and inscription can be read. The skin is a reference to the Nemean lion killed by Hercules. At the same time it indicates that as an artist Vouet was in a higher class. The female personifications also relate closely to the person portrayed. In their hands they hold trumpets symbolising fame and the attributes of painting. A very fine, contrasting impression, trimmed to the platemark. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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