SAINT-IGNY, Jean de
(b. ca. 1595, Rouen, d. after 1649, Paris)
French painter, draughtsman, engraver and writer. He began as an apprentice painter in Rouen in 1614; he is recorded based in Paris in 1629-30, where he had doubtless been established for some time. He was once again in Rouen in 1631 and took part in the foundation of the confraternity of St Luc. Saint-Igny appears subsequently to have pursued his career in his home town, although occasionally he spent periods in Paris (in 1632, for example, he received a commission from the Augustinian convent there) and possibly in Caen. He was elected Master of the Confraternity of St Luc in 1635.
Two large grisaille paintings he executed for the Franciscans of Rouen, the Adoration of the Magi and the Adoration of the Shepherds (both Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts), as well as his Assumption for the abbey church of La Trinité, Fécamp (in situ), are signed and dated 1636. In 1638-39 he was paid for executing paintings intended to decorate the chapel of the Virgin in Rouen Cathedral. All these works, to which should be added a second Assumption (Caudebec-en-Caux, Notre Dame), are strongly marked by the Mannerist style of Jacques Bellange, Georges Lallemant and Claude Vignon, as well as by that of Abraham Bosse, who together dominated art in Paris prior to Simon Vouet's return from Italy in 1627 and who remained in fashion for some time after that date.
Other, smaller works attributable to Saint-Igny are characterized by a more cursive, rapid and spirited style of brushwork. These include the grisaille allegory Air (Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts) and a series of small paintings of historical subjects treated almost as genre scenes, such as the Triumphal Cavalcade of Anne of Austria and the Young Louis XIV (Poughkeepsie, NY, Vassar College Art Gallery), and a number of small panels (and possibly also the carved panelling) that decorate the Chapelle Dorée of the church of St Gervais-St Protais in Paris.
A large number of original engravings, or engravings made from his works by Nicolas Briot, Michel Lasne and Bosse, survive, as do some preparatory drawings (e.g. New York, Metropolita Museum of Art; Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts). The engravings were often made as part of a series, such as the Noblesse françoise à l'église, the Jardin de la noblesse françoise and the better-known Elémens de pourtraiture. Through his images of elegantly dressed men and women, Saint-Igny revealed himself to be one of the most representative illustrators of the manners and fashions of his day.