Jean the Elder Cousin

(c. 1490—1560)

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(b ?Sens, c.1490; d ?Paris, c.1560).

French painter, engraver, and designer, active in Sens and from about 1538 in Paris. He had a successful career as a painter and a designer of stained glass and tapestries, but very little surviving work can be securely attributed to him. The only certain documented works are three tapestries from a series on the life of St Mammès, which he contracted to design in 1543 (two are in Langres Cathedral, for which they were woven, the other is in the Louvre, Paris). The painting Eva Prima Pandora (Louvre), however, can also be confidently given to him, as the attribution goes back almost to his lifetime, and two windows in Sens Cathedral are also traditionally attributed to him. In 1560 he published a treatise on perspective. A similar pattern emerges with his son Jeanthe Younger (b ?Sens, c.1525; d ?Paris, c.1595), a painter and engraver. He too worked in Sens and Paris and had a great contemporary reputation, but again little documented work survives. His most important painting is a Last Judgement (Louvre); he also produced a book of emblem drawings entitled Livre de fortune (Institut de France, Paris, 1568) and in 1595 published an instructional book on drawing the human figure, Livre de pourtraicture, which went through several editions and remained in use until the 19th century. The work of both father and son shows strong Italian influence and is remarkable for its independence from the prevailing style of the School of Fontainebleau.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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