Lot 46
  • 46

Jacques Blanchard

25,000 - 35,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Jacques Blanchard
  • Madonna with child
  • Oil on canvas


Private collection, Lyon, France, since the beginning of the XXth century


A l'oeil nu, le tableau se présente dans un état de conservation relativement satisfaisant. Il a fait l'objet d'un réentoilage ancien réalisé y a plus d'une centaine d'années, un peu fort et un peu tendu. Le vernis est ancien et a besoin d'être changé. Le bleu du vêtement de la vierge a changé de couleurs et viré au blanc, c'est certainement la raison pour laquelle la partie droite de ce drapé bleu a été repeint très probablement au moment du réentoilage au début du XXe siècle. On remarque des restaurations dans le drapé blanc du linge de l'enfant et dans le coin inférieur droit. A la lampe UV : vernis vert non uniforme. On remarque des restaurations dans les endroits déjà signalés et dans le coin inférieur droit. To the naked eye, the painting is in a rasonnably good overall condition. It has been recanvassed more than one hundred years ago which was a bit harsh. The varnish is dirty and needs to be changed. The blue colour on the virgin's clothes turned a bit and that is certainly the reason why the right side of her coat has been repainted probably at the time the painting was recanvassed. We can see some restorations in the white clothes of the Infant Jesus and in the lower right corner. Under the UV light : the painting is under an uneven green varnish. We can see some restoration in the already mentioned areas and in the lower right corner.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Jacques Blanchard was born and died in Paris during the first half of the 17th century. The art historian André Félibien said of him that he had "contributed greatly to restore good taste in painting to France."1 An unrivaled colorist, he had indeed brought back from Italy various methods which earned him the nickname "French Titian". It is true that, like the Venetian painter, he excelled in the play of color vibrations and directly painted onto the canvas, executing his paintings as an "all-together", per descriptive terms used by Charles Sterling.
Suddenly halted in the midst of a brilliant career, he died at the age of thirty-eight, "his temperament all of fire, and the vivacity with which he labored consumed him during the full blossoming of his age," according to Dezallier d'Argenville2.
No contemporary unfortunately narrated his progress. Félibien made his conclusions fifty years after Blanchard's death, Perrault retraced his life seventy years later, and Dezallier d'Argenville more than a century later. The hundred works now known of the painter have often come to us by engraving, and the art historian Jacques Thuillier ensures that the number of paintings lost or to be discovered3 is more than one hundred.
His Virgin Mary with Child were extremely valued and abundantly engraved. One of them, which is very close stylistically to ours and now is part of  the Asbjorn R. Lunde collection in New York4, was engraved by Pierre Daret in 1638. The art historian Jacques Thuillier thought that Blanchard had painted it a few years before the engraving, around 16315. Executed quite early during the 17th century, this Madonna type by Blanchard had launched a true model of the representation of the Virgin Mary's in half portrait, thus preceding the female saint series of similar compositions that were realized by Simon Vouet during the1640s.
Certainly, the theme was perfectly suited to the spirit of the Counter Reformation. Blanchard responded well to the demands of the Vatican with these women bearing current physical appearances, who looked like true 17th-century Frenchwomen and dressed in a more contemporary than Biblical style. Our Virgin Mary, like the one in New York, is understood as a holy person only by a very feint aureola that is barely sketched. Jacques Thuillier was not mistaken and described the success of these types of paintings in the following words: "his contemporaries were fighting for them ... less out of devotion than for the charm he knew how to give to a young woman proud of her motherhood "6.

1.A. Félibien, Entretien sur les vies et sur les ouvrages des plus excellens peintres anciens et modernes, Septième Entretien, Paris, 1690 p. 180.
2. A-N Dezallier d'Argenville, Abrégé de la vie des plus fameux peintres...., Paris, 1762, IV, p. 51.
3. J. Thuillier, Jacques Blanchard 1600-1638, [cat. exp.] Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes 6 mars - 8 juin 1998, MBA Rennes, Rennes, 1998, p. 21.
4. Op. cit. cat. 34, reproduit.
5. Op. cit. p. 144
6. Op. cit., p. 13