Antoine Singlin
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Philippe de Champaigne
French, about 1646
Oil on canvas
31 1/8 x 25 5/8 in.

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Antoine Singlin fixes the viewer with a steady, piercing gaze. Before his excommunication in 1661, Singlin served as confessor both to Louis XIV, King of France and the philosopher Blaise Pascal. He was also director of Royal-des-Champs and Port-Royal-de-Paris, convents at the center of the severely ascetic religious movement known as Jansenism.

This psychologically penetrating study captures the fierce personality of the man and his austere beliefs. Philippe de Champaigne placed Singlin in half-length format against a neutral background, leaving the viewer little choice but to meet Singlin's direct stare.