(b. 1591, Coulommier-en-Brie, d. 1632, Roma)

The Judgment of Solomon

c. 1625
Oil on canvas, 176 x 210 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The influence of Caravaggio's dramatic style which revolutionised European painting at the beginning of the seventeenth century can be seen clearly in Valentin's work. He would have come into contact with Caravaggio's work in Rome where he went as a very young man, and spent all of his short career. In The Judgment of Solomon the strength of forms outlined against the shadow, so reminiscent of Caravaggio, does not preclude an atmosphere of mystery and poetry that is peculiar to Valentin. Louis XIV owned several of his paintings; five are still hanging in the King's bedchamber in the Cháteau de Versailles.