Jacob Bunel


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(b Blois, bapt 6 Oct 1558; d Paris, before 8 Oct 1614). French painter and draughtsman. He was the son of the painter François Bunel the elder (d c. 1580) and the brother of François Bunel the younger (1552–before 1599). According to his pupil Claude Vignon (1593–1670), he travelled to Spain early in his career, where he worked for Philip II at the Escorial and studied the works of Titian (1485/90–1576). Jacob then went to Rome, where he is said to have worked with Federico Zuccaro (1540/42–1609) and Niccolò Pomarancio (1517/24–before 1596). By 1595 he had returned to France and from 1601 he was active in Paris at the Tuileries Palace, where he painted perspective decorations and views of towns captured by French troops (destr.), and at the Louvre, where he was Toussaint Dubreuil's principal collaborator on the decoration of the ceiling of the Petite Galerie (destr. 1661). After Dubreuil's death in 1602, Bunel's role in the decoration of the gallery was considerable, and from 1607, in collaboration with his wife, Marguerite Bahuche (d c. 1630), he executed a set of 28 life-size portraits of the kings and queens of France from the time of St Louis. This formed the principal decoration of the walls of the Petite Galerie. A preparatory drawing of Henry IV (Paris, Louvre; see fig.) is all that remains of Bunel's contribution to this important scheme, which also included smaller portraits of the principal personages of each reign. Nothing survives of his other major decorative works for the Louvre, nor of the altarpieces for Paris churches mentioned by André Félibien (1619–95) and in other early sources, such as the Pentecost for the church of the Grands Augustins. A small number of drawings by him survive, including the Head of a Man and a Sleeping Warrior (both Paris, Louvre), as well as engravings after his portraits of Henry IV (by Thomas de Leu, 1605) and of the sculptor Pietro Francavilla (by Pieter de Jode I (1570–1634), 1613), and one after a mythological subject (by Hendrik Oldeland, fl 1636–43). Too little remains to give any real idea of the style of a painter who was clearly highly esteemed in his own day.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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