Charles Le Brun Biography | Oil Paintings
2-24-1619 Paris, FRA – 2-22-1690 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
At eleven years old, Charles Le Brun attracted the notice of Chancellor Séguier who put him in the studio of Simon Vouet, he was also a pupil of François Perrier. At fifteen years old, Cardinal Richelieu commissioned his portrait, it was good enough for praise by Nicolas Poussin. In 1642 Le Brun went to Rome and he remained there for four years, living on money Chancellor Séguier gave him, while in Rome he studied under Poussin, adapting his theories on art.
Charles Le Brun found many clients on his return to Paris in 1646, Superintendent Fouquet was the most important, he wanted a large portrait of Anne of Austria painted. But Le Brun was very ambitious and cunning both politically and artistically. He wanted France to become the leader in the art world. While employed at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, Le Brun charmed himself with Cardinal Mazarin, then pitting Jean-Baptiste Colbert against Superintendent Fouquet, charging him with living extravagantly by misappropriating money. Colbert recognized Le Brun's powers of organization and joined forces with him and both became very powerful in the king's court. Together they took control of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1648, and the Academy of France in Rome in 1666, and gave a new emphasis to the industrial arts.
Charles Le Brun The Seventeenth Century Dictator of French Art.
Louis XVI had a prolonged reign from 1661 to 1715, and there was a shift in taste and art, which became an expression of absolute power. The Sun King made himself and his image the focus of attention. The monarch was surrounded by an elaborate ceremonial system, in which even the most insignificant and intimate moments of his life became a spectacle to be played out before a select audience of courtiers, all part of the lavish celebration of the king's person. The favorite setting was Versailles, where the union between architecture, sculpture, and painting began in the Baroque churches of Rome was created in a secular context. Charles Le Brun, director of the Academy and the Royal Manufactories, received many painting commissions.
In 1660 they established the Gobelins, which at first was for the manufacture of every kind of furniture the royal palaces required, later it became the tapestry manufacturer for the Royals. Commanding the industrial arts through the Gobelins, of which he was the director, and the entire art world through the Academy, in which he held every post, Charles Le Brun imprinted his own particular character on everything made in France during his lifetime. He was the originator of Louis XIV Style and he directed the style and course to be taken for French art that endured centuries after his death.
In 1663, he became director of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, where he laid the premise of Academicism and became the all-powerful, undisputed master of seventeenth-century French art. It was during this period that he dedicated a progression of works to the history of Alexander The Great, Entry of Alexander into Babylon, and he didn't miss the chance to make a comparison between the greatness of Alexander and greatness of the King Louis XIV.
Charles Le Brun was also a fine portrait painter and an excellent draftsman, but he did not like portrait or landscape paintings, which he felt to be a simple exercise in creating specialized ability. What mattered was scholarly composition, for Le Brun, an oil painting was a story one could read and understand.
In 2013, artistic advisers for the Hotel Ritz Paris, looking at the condition of the hotel art work discovered The Sacrifice of Polyxena, a work by Charles Le Brun done in 1647, hanging in the Coco Chanel suite, it had been forgotten about since the hotel was built. It sold at auction the same year for US$1.8 million.
Art Movement: Baroque Art.
Artists Influencing Charles Le Brun: Nicolas Poussin, Simon Vouet, François Perrier.
He Traveled To Italy, Belgium.
Painters Charles Le Brun Influenced: Ludovico Dorigny.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.