Exhibition: Sébastien Bourdon
September 20 - December 16, 2018
organized by the national museum of Port-Royal des Champs
and the Meeting of National Museums
Sebastien Bourdon, Protestant painter?
In the history of art, few artists are studied in terms of their religious affiliation or religious choice. This is the case of Philippe de Champaigne, in his attachment to the Jansenist movement and his contemporary Sebastien Bourdon for his membership of the Reformed Church.
Bourdon is one of the rare reformed artists presented as such, from the late seventeenth century, and even more during the nineteenth century in a vision of antagonism or confrontation more in line with the context of the years preceding the revocation of the edict from Nantes. Yet the period of appeasement following the edict of grace of Nîmes (1629) allowed the flourishing of an important colony of artists reformed in Paris that the historiography of the nineteenth century believed could locate around Saint-Germain des Prés . With a flourishing pictorial tradition since the sixteenth century in the Lutheran communities of Northern Europe, still lifes, genre scenes or portraits, but anxious to be able to benefit from the important religious orders, many were Protestant artists who performed d important orders for Parisian churches or private oratories.
Like all his co-religionists, Sébastien Bourdon complies with the requirements of Catholic sponsors in order to pursue a career in France in keeping with his talent and aspirations. In the midst of an abundant production, the suite of works of mercy is a set apart that allows to better understand the issues of religious representation for a Calvinist artist like Sebastien Bourdon. Through seven scenes drawn from the Old Testament, designed to illustrate the Old Testament figures of bodily works of mercy, Sébastien Bourdon founds an ambitious series that is today too little known, that he paints and engraves himself. These Works of Mercy, like too many works of Bourdon have had a difficult destiny. Without having been destroyed as the decoration of the Hotel de Bretonvilliers, which Bernin himself admired, the seven paintings quickly passed into Great Britain where the art of Bourdon was particularly appreciated, as evidenced by the number of his works still present in British collections. Purchased by John Ringling for his museum in Sarasota, they were deemed ruined and interest was focused on engravings whose reputation had crossed the centuries.
This series of seven plates, engraved by the artist, constitute alone a second creation. Their study helps to understand the meaning of the series: artistic testament of the Rector of the Royal Academy of painting in a tribute claimed to Nicolas Poussin, spiritual testament of a believer deeply attached to his church, search for a protector for the community French reformed in the person of Colbert at the moment when Louis XIV took the first steps against the supposedly reformed religion.
Anne Imbert, art historian
Philippe Luez, director of the Port Royal Museum
Around the exhibition
4-5 October 2018 at the Port Royal Museum
"Religious art and Protestantism in France before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes", in partnership with the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve.
The catalog is written by Anne Imbert, Elodie Vaysse, Frédéric Cousinié and Philippe Luez
and edited by the Meeting of National Museums - Grand Palais.
Cliquez sur l'image dirige vers Album photo de LA LOUVIERE 2014 SALON D'AUTOMNE. (possibilité de voir en plus gros les images sur google+)