CHAMPAIGNE, Philippe de
(b. 1602, Bruxelles, d. 1674, Paris)
Oil on canvas, 74,3 x 54,6 cm
Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull
Champaigne was in the habit of producing highly finished small versions of his large pictures, unusually for a French artist of his time. It is not always clear whether these versions were finished modellos in the Italian manner, designed to be shown to the client before the expensive large picture was begun (as was often the custom in Italy) or whether they were replicas painted afterward
This is a carefully finished modello for the large picture in the Wallace Collection, London, which could well have been painted for the Palais Royal in about 1644. In the small small picture the modelling, colour and line are precise, but there is a certain sensuality in their treatment, clearly marking the artist's Flemish origins. In the large version in the Wallace Collection all trace of this disappeared and, instead, a grandeur is achieved by a large amount of space in the composition and a treatment of the draperies as if they were metal foil or even sculpture.