Charles de Saint-Albin, Archbishop of Cambrai

Object Details


Charles de Saint-Albin, Archbishop of Cambrai


Hyacinthe Rigaud (French, 1659 - 1743)




France (Place created)




Oil on canvas


146.1 x 113 cm (57 1/2 x 44 1/2 in.)

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The Archbishop of Cambrai, Charles de Saint-Albin, was the illegitimate son of Philippe, duc d'Orléans, and a dancer at the opera. Although his father never recognized him officially, he smoothed his son's swift advance in the Church hierarchy and aided his appointment to the archbishopric of Cambrai. In the year of his appointment, the archbishop commissioned this portrait from Hyacinthe Rigaud, the most accomplished and flattering portraitist at the court of Louis XIV.

Shown in his robes of office, Saint-Albin balances a book on his knee and presses his left hand to his chest, a gesture suggesting his spirituality. Rigaud masterfully displayed the different textures of his shimmering satin robe and the exquisitely patterned lace of the garment worn underneath. A soft ermine cape is painted so realistically that the viewer can see the indentations left by Saint-Albin's fingers as they press against the fur.

1723 -

Charles de Saint-Albin, archbishop of Cambrai, 1698 - 1764, commissioned from the artist, 1723. Possibly in his Parisian townhouse, Place des Victoires.

19th century -

Private Collection (Belgium)

- 1988

Artemis Fine Arts Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988.

LOUIS STYLE: French Frames from Louis XIII to Louis XVI, 1610-1792 (September 15, 2015 to January 3, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 15, 2015 to January 3, 2016

Durieux, Achille. Les tableaux des ci-devant établissements religieux de Cambrai, 1789-1806 (Cambrai: Renaut, 1880) p. 15, no. 3.

Eudel, Paul. Les Livres de comptes de Hyacinthe Rigaud (Paris: Librairie H. Le Soudier, 1910) p. 105.

Roman, Joseph Hippolyte. Le livre de raison du peintre Hyacinthe Rigaud (Paris: Laurens, 1919) p. 196.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 107, ill.

Old Master Drawings, exh. cat. (New York: C.G. Boerner, 2002) unpaginated, under no. 20, ill.

James-Sarazin, Ariane. "Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743)." Ph.D. diss. 2 vols. (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 2003) vol. 2, pp. 1657-59, no. 434, ill.

Perreau, Stephan. Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1659-1743: Le peintre des rois (Perpignan: Les Presses du Languedoc, 2004) pp. 218-20, ill.

Lespes, Michelle. "Jacques-André-Joseph Aved, portraitiste des Lumières." L'Estampille/L'Objet d'Art, no. 443 (February 2009) p. 73.

Grasselli, Margaret Morgan, ed. Renaissance to Revolution: French Drawings from the National Gallery of Art, 1500-1800, exh. cat. (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2009) pp. 110, 281.

Mercier, Alain. La deuxième fille de Cluny: grandeurs et misères de Saint-Martin-Des-Champs (Paris: Cnam, with Glénat, 2012) p. 377, ill.

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