Etienne Chevalier

(c. 1400—1410)

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(b Melun, c. 1400–10; d 4 Sept 1474). French statesman and patron. He was Secretary–Treasurer of Constable Arthur de Richemont in 1434, Royal Notary and Secretary in 1442, Controller General of Crown receipts in 1445, and Treasurer in 1452. As a patron, he is best known for his commissions from the painter jean Fouquet. Around 1452 this artist updated for him a Book of Hours with miniatures by the Boucicaut Master (c. 1415–20; London, BL, Add. MS. 16997). Fouquet produced a diptych representing the kneeling Chevalier with his patron saint, St Stephen (c. 1452–3; Berlin, Gemäldegal.), before the enthroned Virgin and Child (Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.). According to an unsubstantiated tradition, the Virgin is an idealized portrait of Agnès Sorel (d Feb 1450), mistress of the king, for whose will Chevalier was an executor. The diptych was originally placed above a bronze plaque depicting Chevalier, his wife, and their four children (ex-Notre-Dame, Melun; drawing by Roger de Gaignières; Paris, Bib. N., Est. Rés., Pe 11a, fol. 41) that was set on his wife's tomb. Chevalier apparently had an amicable relationship with Fouquet: among the several gilt and enamel medallions recorded as part of the original frame of the diptych is a signed self-portrait of Fouquet (Paris, Louvre). The one other known medallion from the series depicted St Stephen Refuting the Doctors of the Synagogue (Berlin, Schloss Köpenick, destr. 1945). The outstanding example of Chevalier's patronage is a Book of Hours produced by Fouquet without assistance beginning in 1452 (now dispersed and incomplete; 40 detached miniatures in Chantilly, Mus. Condé, MS. 71; two leaves in Paris, Louvre; single leaves in London, BL, Add. MS. 37421; New York, Met.; Paris, Bib. N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 1416; Paris, Mus. Marmottan; Upton House, Warwicks, MS. 184).


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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