CHAMPAIGNE, Philippe de
(b. 1602, Bruxelles, d. 1674, Paris)

Cardinal Richelieu

c. 1639
Oil on canvas, 222 x 155 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Richelieu was painted by Champaigne in several different guises, all of them with unwavering accuracy and concentration, and these portraits are a vivid record of that statesman's determined and brilliant personality. In this full-length portrait, of which there are many versions, all the cardinal's strength of character is revealed, as might be expected in a grand state portrait. His red robes allowed the artist to introduce a richness into an otherwise utterly cold composition. This lack of warmth is one of the reasons why Champaigne has never attracted a popular following.