Eustache Le Sueur

Dates1616 - 1655

Eustache Le Sueur's father, a woodworker and sculptor, placed his son Eustache in Simon Vouet's studio when he was about sixteen. Unlike many of his peers, Le Sueur never went to Rome, instead finding his classicizing influence in Vouet's Baroque style. Primarily a painter of religious subjects for churches in Paris and its environs, he was said to have little use for immoral excesses and to have loved order, simplicity, and seclusion. In the 1640s Le Sueur began studying Nicolas Poussin's works, and he may even have known Poussin. Le Sueur became interested in the psychological aspect of his subjects and developed a new classicism of composition and modeling while retaining his characteristic delicate, refined colors and tenderness. In his last years, he became engrossed in Raphael's works. In 1648 Le Sueur was one of twelve founder-members of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. A gifted and prolific draftsman, he had no direct successor, but his works were popular among subsequent artists. "A single figure by him is a perfect harmony of line and effect, and when many figures are assembled in one picture everything is brought into harmony," wrote Eugène Delacroix.