Claude Vignon France
5-19-1593 Tours, FRA – 5-10-1670 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Claude Vignon was, with his friend Simon Vouet one of the most famous French painters of the time of Louis XIII.
Claude Vignon travelled to Rome in 1609-10 where he joined the French community of painters, including Simon Vouet and Valentin de Boulogne. In 1616 he became member of the Painter’s Guild of Paris and returned to Rome the next year. Travelled to Spain, where he was attacked by eight bandits in Barcelona, one wounded him in the face.
Returned to France in 1623, where he married in 1624. After the death of his wife he married a second time in 1644. Claude Vignon is said to have had 35 children, 24 of them are documented, some of them as painters in their fathers’ workshop: amongst them his sons Claude the Younger (1633–1703) and Philippe (1638–1701) and his daughter Charlotte.
Although Claude Vignon is considered one of the most important and most distinctive French painters of his generation, active under King Louis XIII and during the first part of the reign of Louis XIV, his largely eclectic style is a mix of different, mostly foreign influences: Mannerist through his Master Bunel, Caravaggesque through Bartolomeo Manfredi, Venetian through Domenico Fetti, finally Dutch through Rembrandt and his precursors, such as Adam Elsheimer, Pieter Lastman, Jakob Pynas and particularly Leonard Bramer.
Vignon started in a late Mannerist style in France, then fell under the spell of Caravaggio in Rome and after his final return to France, about 1627, reverted to a kind of backward-looking Mannerism full of his own idiosyncrasies in the form of extravagant color-schemes.
The only parallel with his work in the seventeenth century is found in the late follower of Rembrandt, Arent de Gelder; and the very extravagance of Vignon’s art in the 1620s has led to him being described as a ‘precursor of Rembrandt’. In fact, his return to Mannerism in the 1620s is exactly paralleled by another Dutchman, Pieter Lastman of Amsterdam, whose color and handling are very close to Vignon’s. The similarities between Rembrandt and Claude Vignon are important because Rembrandt was briefly but effectively influenced by Lastman during his first stay in Amsterdam in the years 1625-6.
Art Movement: Mannerism
Influences: Jacob Bunel
Traveled: Italy, Spain