DUPÉRAC, Etienne
(b. ca. 1525, Bordeaux, d. 1601, Paris)

Biography

French painter, engraver and garden designer. He went to Rome in 1550 and stayed there for over 20 years, soon becoming acknowledged as a first-rate engraver and designer. His work provides an invaluable record of later 16th-century Rome, telling much about the state of the ancient ruins, contemporary architecture and urban planning, especially the work of Michelangelo. Many of Dupérac's engravings were published by Antoine Lafréry. Those depicting the work of Michelangelo were published in 1569 after the latter's death (1564); they give a useful insight into Michelangelo's original, unrealized intentions for such projects in Rome as the Capitoline Hill and St Peter's. It has been shown that Dupérac designed and painted part of the decoration of the loggia of Pope Pius IV in the Vatican.

His work as a painter continued on his return to France in 1570 when, after the publication of his Vues perspectives des jardins de Tivoli dedicated to the Queen, Marie de' Medici, Henry IV engaged Dupérac as court artist. He was also appointed architect to the King and worked at Fontainebleau, where he executed the painted decoration in the bathroom, consisting of five mythological scenes of sea gods and the loves of Jupiter and Callisto. Dupérac may also have contributed to the garden designs, using his knowledge of Roman examples. Despite these later career developments, Dupérac remains best known for his invaluable contribution to the topographical study of Rome and its ruins in the latter half of the 16th century.