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

The Échevins of the City of Paris

Oil on canvas, 200 x 271 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

On three occasions Champaigne was commissioned to paint the official portrait group of the mayor and aldermen of the city of Paris. One of these groups, for the year 1648, exists in the Louvre. The artist here had to follow a rigidly established formula. The individual heads are painted with great naturalism, but the figures kneel in hieratic poses on either side of a small altar, supporting a crucifix, on the base of which is the figure of St Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. The severity and rigidity of the design are in keeping with the dignity of those who ruled over the city at this time, who took their duties seriously and proudly maintained the independence of their municipality.

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