JEAN-PIERRE PÉQUIGNOT | A Classical Landscape with a Fortified Town


Jean-Pierre Péquignot

oil on canvas
62.3 x 74.8 cm.; 24 1/2 x 29 1/2 in.

Probably in the collection of the painter Baron Antoine-Jean Gros (1771–1835);
With Galerie Jacques Leegenhoek, Paris, 2003;
Anonymous sale, New York, Christie’s, 26 January 2005, lot 79 for $180,000;
Where acquired by the present owner.

C.P. Landon, Annales du Musée ou Recueil complet de gravures. École française moderne. Tableaux de paysage et de genre, Paris 1808, vol. III, p. 15, reproduced pl. 13;Visions de la nature en France au XIXe siècle (Nature in France in the nineteenth century), exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Besançon, 1986;
E. Beck Saiello, Jean-Pierre Péquignot, 2005, pp. 82–83, no. T.10, reproduced in colour. ENGRAVED
Jean-Jerome Baugean (1764–1819), in reverse

Painted towards the end of the 1790s, this is one of the finest known works by the French neo-classical landscape painter Jean-Pierre Péquignot. It is a particularly beautiful example of a neo-classical landscape, reflecting a renewed interest in classical art and the culture of classical antiquity, seen here in the architecture and figures dressed in classical clothing. The main neo-classical movement took place in Europe from the mid-18th through until the mid-19th century and incorporated not just the visual and decorative arts, but also literature, theatre, music and architecture.

The style of the painting reveals Pequigot’s characteristically precise and detailed brushwork together with an interest in the depiction of light and atmosphere. The grandeur of the architecture and idyllic landscape combine to give a sense of timelessness as the viewer is transported into another seemingly arcadian world. Dr. Emilie Beck Saiello, who published the painting in her recent catalogue raisonné on the artist, believes that elements of the scene are taken from the artist’s place of birth – the Franche-Comte in Eastern France – whilst the buildings and architecture are inspired by Italy, where Pequignot spent much of his working life.

In 1808, a year after the artist’s death, the painting was engraved and published by Charles-Paul Landon, attesting to the popularity and success that the work enjoyed.