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Jean Fouquet (c. 1420—1481)


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French family of writers, patrons and collectors. They were one of the leading families responsible for introducing aspects of Italian Renaissance culture into France. The first Robertet to achieve distinction was Jean (b ?1420–30; d?1502–3), who like his ancestors was in the service of the dukes of Bourbon. After 1467 he worked as secretary to King Louis XI, a position he continued to hold during the Bourbon regency at the beginning of Charles VIII's reign. Jean is remembered today for his poetry, in which he occasionally used themes derived from the visual arts. The subject of one comic poem, for example, is ‘the worst painter in the world’, an unnamed artist who is compared with the most successful painters then known in France, including Rogier van der Weyden and Perugino (c. 1450–1523). As secretary to the Order of St Michael, founded by Louis XI in 1469, Jean Robertet was responsible for commissioning several panel paintings, possibly armorials, from the leading court painter of the time, jean Fouquet, who received payment of 55 livres from Robertet in December 1470. These paintings are untraced, but a related work by Fouquet is the miniature in a copy of the Order's statutes (Paris, Bib. N., MS. fr. 19819, fol. 1), showing the King surrounded by knights of the Order in a room featuring a large coloured image of St Michael slaying a dragon. At the back of the room, acting as a witness to the scene, stands a figure who may be Jean Robertet himself. Jean's personal interest in Fouquet is indicated by the fact that he acquired a Book of Hours (New York, Morgan Lib. & Mus., MS. 834) that the painter had begun for another, unknown patron c. 1460–65. In a second campaign on this manuscript, another great illuminator of the period, Jean Colombe, completed the work with the motto Chaste vie loue, an anagram of the name of Robertet's wife, Louise Chauvet.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.