Sebastian Bourdon (Montpellier 1616- Paris 1671)
The Holy Family
Oil on canvas
30 x 26 cm
Sébastien Bourdon was born in Montpellier and studied in Paris. His presence is recorded for the first time in Rome in 1636. In 1638 Bourdon leaves Rome in 1638 and moved back to Paris. Indeed, being a Calvinist, he was afraid to be reported. Despite his confession, he willingly painted the catholic iconography for the collectors of religious works. It was actually thanks to religious paintings that he asserted his place on the Parisian artistic scene. However, Vouet’s atelier was already extremely active in Paris and left very little room. Bourdon hence began working on small formats for private customers and collectors.
In our canvas Bourdon stages Mary and Jesus while Joseph discretely stands aside. Mary has the same features as the one of the Virgin and Child with Saint John housed in the Musée des Vosges in Epinal, and the one in the Holy Family with Saint Elisabeth and Saint John of the Musée Magnin in Dijon. As always in his paintings, Bourdon shows great skills in composing with colours. The background is made of shades of grey and browns, from which stand out clearly the blue, red and white stains that are used to dress the holy characters.
The small dimensions of our painting clearly indicate that it was meant for private devotion.