(b. 1591, Coulommier-en-Brie, d. 1632, Roma)

The Fortune Teller

c. 1628
Oil on canvas, 125 x 175 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Valentin's mature style of about 1630 was already slightly out of fashion, but it was at this time that he produced some of his best pictures. One of these is the Fortune Teller in the Louvre, a painting which belonged to Louis XIV. The artist has, as usual, concentrated on the low-life aspect of the subject - a gypsy telling fortunes to a hapless youth - yet the refinement of the tones and delicacy of the brushwork raise the painting above those of all his contemporaries in these respect. (The only Italian to achieve such refinement, although it was of a different character, was Gentileschi.)