VOUET, Simon
(b. 1590, Paris, d. 1649, Paris)


Vouet was a leading French Baroque painter and an arbiter of taste for almost 20 years. The son of an artist, he settled in Italy in 1613, living chiefly in Rome, with periods in Genoa, Venice and Naples. His style shows an individual talent and a profound study of Italian painters, especially Veronese. Vouet soon enjoyed high favour, including the patronage of Pope Urban VIII. In 1627 he was invited back to France, where he became First Painter, a position challenged only once, in 1640-42, when he was brought into an artificial rivalry with Poussin. Vouet taught or collaborated with almost all the painters of the next generation in France, notably Le Brun, Le Sueur and Mignard. His portraits of the court of Louis XIII and most of his large-scale decorative schemes for Parisian houses and country chateaux have been destroyed.