(b. 1590, Paris, d. 1649, Paris)
Saturn, Conquered by Amor, Venus and Hope1645-46
Oil on canvas, 187n x 142 cm
Musée du Berry, Bourges
Like his great compatriots, Poussin and Claude, the Parisian Simon Vouet began his career in Italy. His early works reflect the influence of Caravaggio and Lanfranco; Baroque animation, heavy forms and dramatic contrast of light and shadow are characteristic of the paintings he produced in Rome and Naples. In 1627 Vouet returned to France to become one of the leading masters and a favourite painter of official circles. He gradually adapted his subjects and style to suit the new requirements, painting decorative compositions for the palaces in Paris and for castles in the country. They were usually allegorical or mythological compositions with noble and pure forms rendered with light colours and harmonious lines.