Jean Fouquet, the originator of the Miniature Portrait







Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier, " Crucifixion"  miniature by Jean Fouquet  (c. 1452-1460)    R-G Ojeda RMN/  Conde Museum Chantilly bnf fr.  Commons.

Jean Fouquet was an outstanding 15th century limner and painter, he was born in Tours, France, c.1420 and he also died in Tours between 1478 and 1481.




"Pompey in the Temple of Jerusalem", as described in Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus.  Miniature from a Book of Hours  by Fouquet, c 1470.  http://expositions,  Commons.

He was renowned for his exquisite manuscripts illuminations, painted with a variety of pure and deep colours  together with delicate touches of gold, giving a great distinction and refinement to the composition, he was trained in Paris under the Bedford Master.






"The Virgin Coronation", from the Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier, by Jean Fouquet  c. 1452-1460.  Conde Museum Chantilly . EG Ojeda.RMN; Exposition Fouquet. Commons.

Jean Fouquet was also a leading painter of the Renaissance. He was appointed court painter of Charles VII of France (1403-1461), and he was a protégé of Etienne Chevalier and Agnes Sorel. 





"Adoration of the Magi", miniature by Jean Fouquet. Apparently depicting King Charles VII as one of the three Magi, (the one kneeling)  c. 1452-1460. Collection Conde Museum, Chantilly  R-G Ojeda, RMN:  Commons 

 A great example of Fouquet's  larger work is the elegant and solemn portrait of King Charles VII,  the curtains are drawn to reveal the majestic  king  of France , known as the "Victorious".  This wonderful work is on show at the Museum of Louvre, in Paris.





Portrait of Charles VII, King of France, by Jean Fouquet, c. 1445-1450, this is a large  painting in oil on wood , measuring  86x72cm. Louvre Museum INV 9619. Commons

 Is interesting to note that the portrait of King Charles , could be the first portrait where the subject is not longer painted in profile, but from the front.





Portrait of the Chancellor of France, Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins. This is an oil painting on wood, size  93x73 cm. by Jean Fouquet c. 1460-65. Museum of Louvre, Paris .  M Louvre Inv 9619 the York project (2002)Direct Media    Gm6H 15 BN 3936122202. - Commons.

Later on Fouquet  was appointed Royal painter to King Louis XI of France (1423-1483),  he was the son of Charles VII. The kingdom of Louis XI marked very precised  the end of the middle ages and the beginning of the modern times






Portrait  of Louis XI, King

of France ( 1423-1483).  painted in oil c. 1470,  measures 36,5 cm x 22.2 cm. (Anonymous) catalogue(2012) old master-british-painting-evening-sale/lot.9.html.  Commons.

 Fouquet was in his late twenties o early thirties when he travelled through  Italy ,eventually returning to France, while in Rome he painted a highly elaborate portrait of Pope Eugene IV ( now lost).







Copy of the last portrait of Pope Eugene IV after Jean Fouquet, (the original portrait is lost) this is an engraving  by Onofrio Panvinio. http/  Commons

 In Europe Jean Fouquet is renowned for being the author of the first miniature portrait painting, autonomous , without forming part of a manuscript or a scene






"King David of the Malecite", as described in antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus.  Miniature from a Book of Hours by Fouquet, c 1470-75. http:expositions. bmf .fr/fouquet/grand/f059htm.  Commons. 

 This portrait  painted in 1450-55  is not only the first miniature portrait of a person alone, (as we know it in our days) , but is also the first self portrait of an artist, is painted in enamel on copper.






Jean Fouquet self portrait c.1450-52, detail from the medallion housed in the Louvre Museum. - Art Roots.  Commons. 

At the time, generally the artist didn't sign their work, is interesting to see his signature in this medallion, curiously  this is the only one of his works signed,  on doing so, he was not only looking for the well deserved recognition but also  claiming his rights as the author of such special portrait.





A miniature from the book of hours of Etienne Chevalier, he is knelling in prayer, behind him his patron Saint Stephen with a hand in his shoulder and holding a stone in the other hand, (an indication of his martyrdom), they are surrounded by Angels. Conde Museum, Chantilly.  Commons.

 In the past this medallion was part of a diptych, (a two panel painting) who was at one stage sold and divided. 



  " The Melun Diptych", author Jean Fouquet. c.1450-52 painted in oil. (the two panels are together side by side in this photo, as reminiscence of the past). Commons

Jean  Fouquet's intimate and interesting self portrait measuring 6 cm in diameter is mounted in a circular golden frame and can now be seen at the Louvre Museum in Paris,  in the "objects d'art" section as it have been classified as "precious metalwork".





Jean Fouquet was a great Limner and artist of the 15th century, creator of the first miniature portrait and self portrait. Medallion on copper painted in black and gold enamel. Louvre Museum.  Arts Roots. Commons. 

About the diptych:  It was created around 1452-58, commissioned by Etienne Chevalier who was the king's treasurer, with the intention perhaps for the diptych to decorate his tomb, it was housed in the Collegiate of Notre Dame of Melun,  France, ( this is an 11th century church founded by king Robert II). In 1773-75 the church was in need of repairs, (likely money was needed) the  panels were then separated and sold. 






The Burial of Etienne Chevalier. Miniature on parchment by Jean Fouquet, measuring 20.1 x 14.8 cm.-R-G Ojeda, RMN: expositions.

 The right wing of the diptych  is depicting The Virgin and Child, surrounded by Angels, it is said that as a model for the Virgin, Fouquet used Agnes Sorel who was the king's favourite mistress. It is housed today in The Royal Museum of Beaux Arts Antwerp.





The right wing of the Melun Diptych, manifest a young  Virgin and Child surrounded by Angels, c. 1452-58, oil on wood, 91.8 x 83.3 cm. Author Jean Fouquet. Royal Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp,  Belgium.  Commons.

The left wing of the Melun diptych, shows Etienne Chevalier next to his patron Saint  St. Stephen , whom is holding in his left hand a Bible and a stone, as a symbol of his martyrdom . This panel is housed in Gemaldegalerie,  Berlin.





The left wing of the Melun Diptych reveals the image of  Etienne Chevalier with his patron Saint, St. Stephen, c.1452-58. oil on wood.  Author Jean Fouquet .  Gemalldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.  Commons.

Fouquet's self-portrait is now preserved in the Louvre Museum, was part of the decoration of the diptych's frame, apparently existed others medallions decorating the frame, but they are probably lost. 






"Construction of the temple of Jerusalem", a sumptuous work by Jean Fouquet- Commons.

Jean Fouquet's  " Pieta of Nouans", an invaluable masterpiece  housed in the  church of Saint Martin, in Nouans les Fontaines, France. 



"Pieta of Nouans" an impressive and powerful  painting of Jean Fouquet  c. 1460-1465. fouquet/grand f 128.htm.  Commons

This is an awe-inspiring religious work of the Great French Master Jean Fouquet,  painted in oil on wood, c. 1460-1465. 

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Barry (Thursday, 01 August 2019 23:25)

    Wow what colours! Amazing.