Portrait of Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671)

Accession Number

Portrait of Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671)

Laurent Cars

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
engraving on heavy off-white laid paper

15 1/16 in x 10 3/8 in (38.26 cm x 26.35 cm)

Subject matter
In order to be admitted to the Académie Royale, portrait engravers were required to create two engraved portraits. This portrait of the painter Sébastien Bourdon was one of the prints Cars produced as his reception piece to gain admittance to the Académie as an engraver. The conventions that governed official portraiture from the period are evident in this engraving, which is after a painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud now in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt. The figure is framed within an octagonal stone frame surrounded by the materials of his profession: easel and canvas, paper, palette, brushes, and a book. Another feature common to these portraits was the use of drapery, either inside the framework or outside of it. Cars’ ability to denote different textures is evident in this work: the velvet coat and waving hair contrast with the sheen of the satin drapery, which cascades across the stone frame forward into the viewer’s space.

Physical Description
A young man with long hair looks over his shoulder at the viewer through an illusionistically described stone octagonal aperture. A heavy satin cloth cascades from his right shoulder towards the viewer and through the opening. On the near side of this rusicated aperture are the palette, brushes, drawing folio and a book, indentifying the sitter as an artist, the identification further secured by the canvas on an easle seen behind the figure.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Collection Area

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2 Related Resources

Early Modern European Portraits and Self-Fashioning
(Part of 12 Learning Collections)
Prints on Display Fall 2020
(Part of: Resources Made by Isabel Engel)

& Author Notes

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