The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

Object Details

Title:

The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

Artist/Maker(s):

Charles Le Brun (French, 1619 - 1690)

Culture:

French

Date:

1646 - 1647

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

98.4 x 80 cm (38 3/4 x 31 1/2 in.)

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Arms thrown wide, Saint Andrew implores the heavens above while soldiers tie him to a cross in the shape of an X. His executioner, the Roman governor Egeas, watches from a classical porch above, and confusion reigns as soldiers try to push back the surging crowd. Charles Le Brun heightened the emotion of the figures by contrasting the stern, silent figure of the emperor with the chaos below. He used gesture, facial expressions, and strong colors to create a dynamic composition in the theatrical Roman setting.

This painting is directly related to a large altarpiece by Le Brun commissioned in 1646 by the Goldsmith's Guild for the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. The altarpiece was one of the annual commissions known as Les grands Mays, which were installed in the cathedral on the first day of May in honor of the Virgin Mary.

Provenance
1646/1647 - possibly 1672

Private Collection (possibly a private dealer or Charles Le Brun) (Paris, France), possibly sold to Robert Spencer, 1672.

possibly 1672 - 1702

Robert Spencer, second earl of Sunderland, 1640 - 1702 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Charles Spencer, 1702.

1702 - 1722

Charles Spencer, third earl of Sunderland, 1674 - 1722 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Robert Spencer, 1722.

1722 - 1729

Robert Spencer, fourth earl of Sunderland, 1701 - 1729 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his younger brother, Charles Spencer, 1729.

1729 - 1744

Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, 1706 - 1758 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by gift to his younger brother, John Spencer, 1744.

1744 - 1746

John Spencer, British, 1708 - 1746 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, John Spencer, 1746.

1746 - 1783

John Spencer, first earl Spencer, 1734 - 1783 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, George John Spencer, 1783.

1783 - 1834

George John Spencer, second earl Spencer, British, 1758 - 1834 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, John Charles Spencer, 1834.

1834 - 1845

John Charles Spencer, third earl Spencer, 1782 - 1845 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his younger brother, Frederick Spencer, 1845.

1845 - 1857

Frederick Spencer, fourth earl Spencer, 1798 - 1857 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, John Poyntz Spencer, 1857.

1857 - 1910

John Poyntz Spencer, fifth earl Spencer, 1835 - 1910 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his younger brother, Charles Robert Spencer, 1910.

1910 - 1922

Charles Robert Spencer, sixth earl Spencer, 1857 - 1922 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Albert Edward John Spencer, 1922.

1922 - 1975

Albert Edward John Spencer, seventh earl Spencer, 1892 - 1975 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Edward John Spencer, 1975.

1975 - 1979

Edward John Spencer, eighth earl Spencer, 1924 - 1992 (Althorp, Northamptonshire, England), sold to Wildenstein & Co., 1979.

1979 - 1984

Wildenstein & Company (London, England; New York, New York; Paris, France), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Loan Exhibition of French Painting of the XVIIth Century (June 20 to July 31, 1947) (Cat. 20)
  • Wildenstein & Co. (London), June 20 to July 31, 1947
Charles Le Brun, 1619 - 1690, peintre et dessinateur (July 1 to October 1, 1963) (Cat. 10)
  • Musée national des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, (Versailles), July 1 to October 1, 1963
Printing the Grand Manner: Charles Le Brun and Monumental Prints in the Age of Louis XIV (May 18, 2010 to October 17, 2010) (Cat. 10)
  • The Getty Research Institute, (Los Angeles), May 18 to October 17, 2010
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