Georges Lallemant

(c. 1580—1636)

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(b Nancy, c. 1580; d Paris, 1636). French painter, draughtsman and printmaker. A native of Lorraine, he established himself in Paris in 1601, was naturalized there in 1616 and by 1626 had received the title of Peintre Ordinaire du Roi. Lallemant enjoyed a prolific career, receiving numerous commissions, religious and civil, for Paris and for the provinces. His studio was one of the busiest in the city: Laurent de La Hyre (1605–56), Michel Dorigny (1616–65) and Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) all received training there, and Philippe de Champaigne (1602–74) was involved in collaborative works. Although a large proportion of Lallemant's work is lost, a sufficient number of paintings, decorative works, drawings, engravings and tapestries remain for his output and style to be assessed. Among his paintings, the group portrait of the Aldermen of the City of Paris (1611; Paris, Carnavalet), made for the Hôtel de Ville, is an example of his commissions executed in the conservative style followed by numerous established painters. His works carried out in the churches of Paris include the extant wall paintings (c. 1620) in the Vic Chapel at St Nicolas-des-Champs, on the ceiling of which is his Assumption. His late commissions, however, refute over-simplified accounts of an artist who was pushed aside when Simon Vouet (1590–1649) returned to Paris from Italy in 1627. Far from succumbing to the fashionable early Baroque style introduced into France by Vouet, Lallemant remained faithful to Mannerism and continued to attract commissions from those patrons not ready for imported innovations. The undated Adoration of the Magi (Lille, Mus. B.–A.) and the St Martin Dividing his Cloak (c. 1630; Paris, Carnavalet) are both good examples of his use of this elegant if artificial style. His preference for highly coloured and theatrical effects confirms Lallemant as a truly representative artist of the period. That he was highly regarded is seen by the award of commissions for two ‘Mays’, the pictures presented annually by the Paris goldsmiths’ corporation to Notre-Dame, Paris—SS Peter and Paul Healing the Lame Man (1630; untraced; engraving by Pierre Brébiette) and St Stephen at Prayer before Being Stoned (1633; untraced). In 1634 four tapestries after his cartoons were woven for Notre-Dame; one, SS Crispin and Crispinian, survives (Paris, Mobilier N.). Among Lallemant's last important works is the large Descent of the Holy Ghost (1635; Rouen, St Ouen), a crowded and symmetrical composition in which his expressive powers are at their height. The type of scheme used here is one that he would use again in several other works that have recently been discovered.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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