Sébastien Bourdon

Dates1616 - 1671

"He could easily copy anything he saw," reported Sébastien Bourdon's biographer. However, when he copied and exhibited a Claude Lorrain landscape after visiting the master's studio, Claude was so angry that "M. Bourdon could barely escape violence."
The successful Bourdon was frequently criticized for his versatility, which contemporaries blamed on lack of serious training. Born into an artistic family, he went to Paris at age seven, apprenticing to a painter of uncertain identity from 1623 to 1630. Following stints in Bordeaux and Toulouse, he went to Rome, where he painted copies of renowned artists' works for a picture dealer.

After visiting Venice, Bourdon returned to Paris in 1637 and soon receiving lodgings in the Palais du Louvre. He became famous for his large Baroque religious and classical subjects painted with Venetian richness of handling. In 1648 Bourdon co-founded the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and later lectured there, recommending that young artists reject uniformity of inspiration.

In 1652 Bourdon became first painter to Sweden's Queen Christina, portraying numerous court figures in a style inspired by Anthony van Dyck. His last works, made back in Paris, were landscape-oriented and influenced by Poussin's art, to which Bourdon added tenderness, charm, and cool color.