Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay

Dates1653 - 1715
RolesArtist, Painter
BornCaen, France
DiedParis, France

Early in his life, Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay had to choose between his religion and his career. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 forced most Protestants to flee France to escape religious persecution. Belin instead decided to renounce his faith and converted to Catholicism in order to continue his work at the court of Louis XIV, king of France. Belin was the pupil of Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, whose daughter he married, and whom he succeeded as a flower painter at the Gobelins tapestry manufactory.

Belin painted floral murals in several of the royal châteaux, including Fontainebleau and Versailles, where he worked on the Escalier de la Reine (Queen's Staircase), since destroyed. He also collaborated with other painters, providing the floral borders in portraits and for tapestry cartoons for Gobelins from 1687. Towards the end of his life, the king honored him by providing him with a pension and lodgings in the Palais du Louvre.